Before June 17, 2015, most Americans didn’t think much about the more than 700 Confederate monuments around the nation. And then Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist, massacred nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof’s actions, along with photos of him posing with the Confederate flag, led to a push to remove that symbol of white supremacy from public spaces across the South.
Soon, though, people began looking beyond the flag and focused their attention on statues and monuments to Confederate generals, soldiers, and battles, many of which were erected as Jim Crow flourished across the South and white leaders sought to re-cast the rebellious Confederacy as an honorable lot of freedom fighters and provide rallying points for the reascendent Ku Klux Klan. The summer of 2015 saw many debates about removing these statues, one of which led to a vote by the City Council in Charlottesville, Virginia, to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee on horseback.
That decision led white-supremacist organizers to plan a rally in support of the statue. That rally happened last weekend. The irony of the Unite the Right protest, which saw violent clashes between neo-Nazis and counterprotesters, along with one murder, is that like the Charleston massacre, it has accelerated the removal of Confederate statues across the nation. By associating their rancid ideology with centuries-old memorials, the white supremacists have ensured that these monuments will come down. In the first five days after the rally alone, nearly ten Confederate monuments have fallen. Plenty more will follow.
Here are the latest cities to remove their Confederate statues:
Kansas City, Missouri — August 25, 2017
A week after a vandal spray painted it with a hammer and sickle, a Confederate monument located a block away from the border with Kansas was removed. Workers used chainsaws to cut the monument in 17 pieces, the heaviest of which weighs 15,000 pounds. The head of crew dismantling the monument told The Kansas City Star that its removal is “causing a lot of hard feelings, like my feelings.”
Lynchburg, Virginia — August 25, 2017
A statue of George Morgan Jones, a Confederate soldier who helped establish Randolph College, is gone from the school’s campus. “The College has no connection to the Confederacy and, thus, the presence of a statue glorifying a Confederate soldier has no obvious place on our campus,” President Bradley Bateman said.
Bradenton, Florida — August 24, 2017
A 22-foot granite obelisk honoring Confederate soldiers was removed from the grounds of the Manatee County courthouse early Friday. The 8.5-ton memorial broke in the process as workers discovered that the shaft of the statue was not connected to the base. “(T)he monument was a potential hazard before the move began and could have toppled in a strong storm or if it had been pushed or pulled at the right point,” the country spokesman said.
West Palm Beach, Florida — August 22, 2017
On Sunday, a monument to Confederate soldiers that stood just off Dixie Highway was validated when someone spray-painted it with the words “Antifa Fuck Nazis & KKK.” On Tuesday, the monument was removed. The ten-foot statue, located in a cemetery, was dedicated to the “memory of our Confederate Soldiers” and will now be stored in a “secure location,” according to city officials.
Austin, Texas — August 21, 2017
Four statues of Confederate leaders were removed from the University of Texas at Austin campus after president Greg Fenves called them “symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.” The statues, which depict Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate postmaster John H. Reagan, and former Texas governor James Stephen Hogg, were allowed to stay in their places in 2015 when the university moved a similar statue of Jefferson Davis. At the time, Fenves said that was because the men had ties to Texas. After Charlottesville, Fenves changed his mind, he said in an email to students.
Ellicott City, Maryland — August 21, 2017
City workers removed a memorial listing the names of 92 Confederate soldiers from the grounds of the Howard County circuit court at around 11:30 p.m. Pulled down only hours after it was ordered removed, the monument was the sixth to fall in Maryland in the month of August.
Worthington, Ohio — August 19, 2017
Thirteen years after it was erected, a plaque marking the birthplace of former Confederate general Roswell Ripley was pulled down in this small Ohio town. The decision to remove the plaque, which stood in front of a museum located inside of the General’s former home, was made because Worthington “seeks to be a community that promotes tolerance, respect, and inclusion,” a city official said.
Durham, North Carolina — August 19, 2017
A statue of Robert E. Lee in front of Duke University’s chapel was taken down a few days after vandals damaged its nose and chipped off parts of its face. Citing that vandalism, university president Vincent Price said the statue had been removed to “ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there” but also “to express the deep and abiding values of our university.”
The Bronx, New York — August 18, 2017
Busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were removed from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at Bronx Community College. Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. had called for the busts to go a few days before. “It is needed, it is time and it sends a clear message that we are not going to tolerate the hatred that we’ve been seeing,” he said.
Daytona Beach, Florida — August 18, 2017
Three plaques honoring dead Confederate soldiers were removed from a park in downtown Daytona Beach. City officials said they’d be cleaned and donated to a local historical society.
Helena, Montana — August 18, 2017
The nation’s northernmost Confederate monument was pulled down after a letter was sent to city officials by Native American lawmakers in Montana. They argued that the fountain in Helena’s Hill Park stood for segregation and slavery and said it should come down. The city quickly agreed, but not all were pleased with the decision. Local police made two arrests when people refused to leave the site as work to remove the monument began.
Annapolis, Maryland — August 18, 2017
At around 2 a.m., with dozens of onlookers watching from below, workers removed a statue of former Supreme Court justice Roger B. Taney from its perch outside the Maryland State House. The 145-year-old statue, whose removal was spurred by the events in Charlottesville, will be held in a Maryland State Archives storage facility.
Madison, Wisconsin — August 17, 2017
A plaque honoring Confederate soldiers as “unsung heroes” was removed from a city-owned cemetery in Madison a day after residents complained about it. “The Civil War was an act of insurrection and treason and a defense of the deplorable practice of slavery,” Mayor Paul Soglin said in a statement. “The monuments in question were connected to that action and we do not need them on City property.”
Franklin, Ohio — August 17, 2017
Located along Dixie Highway, a monument to Robert E. Lee was removed overnight by the city of Franklin. As local officials tell it, the monument wasn’t removed just because of what it stood for, but because of where it stood. It’s location near a highway made it a “public safety hazard,” they said.
Baltimore, Maryland — August 16, 2017
A day after the Baltimore city council voted to immediately remove four Confederate-era statues, they were removed. Three of the statues honored those who played a role in fighting for the Confederacy and one depicted former Supreme Court chief justice Roger B. Taney, the man who wrote the majority opinion in the infamous Supreme Court case Dred Scott v. Sandford.
Brooklyn, New York — August 16, 2017
Two plaques honoring a tree planted by Robert E. Lee on the grounds of a shuttered church were cut away by the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.
Los Angeles, California — August 16, 2017
A six-foot memorial to Confederate soldiers was removed from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
San Diego, California — August 16, 2017
A small plaque presented to the city in 1926 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy was quietly removed from Horton Plaza.
St. Petersburg, Florida — August 15, 2017
Before local officials were even sure that it was located on public land, a plaque honoring a highway named for Stonewall Jackson was removed from the St. Pete waterfront.
Durham, North Carolina — August 15, 2017
A crowd of protesters toppled a Confederate soldier’s monument honoring “the boys who wore the gray.”
Gainesville, Florida — August 14, 2017
More than 110 years after the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed “Old Joe,” a statue of a Confederate soldier, in downtown Gainesville, the group paid for it to be relocated to a private cemetery ten miles away.
Rockville, Maryland — July 24, 2017
Nearly two years passed between the order to remove a 13-ton statue of a Confederate soldier near the local courthouse and it’s relocation. The statue’s new home? A Potomac river crossing named for Confederate Captain Elijah V. White.
Orlando, Florida — July 4, 2017
Moved once in 1917 because it was creating traffic problems, a statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed “Johnny Reb” was moved again a century later. This time Johnny was relocated from Lake Eola Park to a section of the Greenwood Cemetery where rebel soldiers are buried.
St. Louis, Missouri — June 28, 2017
By the time the Confederate monument in St. Louis’s Forest Park was dismantled, it had become such a target for vandals that the city stopped removing spray-painted slogans from the giant structure, which depicted something called the “angel of the spirit of the Confederacy” hovering over a family sending a rebel soldier off to fight.
New Orleans, Louisiana — May 19, 2017
Nearly two years after New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu called for the removal of several Confederate statues in the city, the most prominent — the Robert E. Lee Monument in the middle of Lee Circle — was lifted away by a crane.
New Orleans, Louisiana — May 17, 2017
The General P.G.T. Beauregard Equestrian Statue, honoring the man who led the attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, was removed.
New Orleans, Louisiana — May 11, 2017
Erected nearly 50 years after his side lost the Civil War, the Jefferson Davis Monument was removed by masked workers.
New Orleans, Louisiana — April 24, 2017
Long the subject of controversy, the Battle of Liberty Place Monument, erected in 1891, was a rallying point for racists in the city and at one point had an inscription extolling “white supremacy.” Now it’s gone.
Frederick, Maryland — August 17, 2017
A bust of former Supreme Court justice Roger B. Taney, a Maryland native, was removed from in front of the old City Hall ten years after a plaque was added to provide information about his role in the Dred Scott case.
Louisville, Kentucky — November 19, 2016
Though it never seceded from the Union, the commonwealth of Kentucky was claimed by the Confederacy and now it has more statues commemorating the rebellion than any state that didn’t secede, according to the South Poverty Law Center. One of those, on the University of Louisville campus, was removed and relocated to a small town an hour away.
Boone County, Missouri — September 24, 2015
Forty years before Dylann Roof ignited a debate over Confederate monuments, a giant rock with a small plaque commemorating Confederate soldiers from Boone County was removed from the campus the University of Missouri and relocated the local courthouse. Several months after the massacre in Charleston, it was moved again, this time a historic site commemorating a nearby Civil War battle.
Austin, Texas — August 13, 2015
The momentum to remove the nine-foot-tall, 1,200-pound statue of Jefferson Davis from the UT Austin campus began with the election of a new student-body president, but it was settled after the massacre in Charleston. More than a year after its removal, the statue returned to campus hidden away in a building where students study American history.