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Analysis: Confederate monuments undergo renewed scrutiny

Ole Miss moved the Confederate statue from its prominent location on the Circle to an on-campus cemetery. | Source: University of Mississippi

A growing number of Mississippi counties are planning to move Confederate monuments that have stood outside courthouses for more than a century.

Posted: Jul 19, 2020 6:54 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A growing number of Mississippi counties are planning to move Confederate monuments that have stood outside courthouses for more than a century. And the University of Mississippi last week moved a rebel soldier statue that has long been a divisive symbol on the Oxford campus.

Research by University of Mississippi history professor Anne Twitty provides context for understanding the white supremacist message behind the monuments.

In mid-June, Twitty found a detailed newspaper account of the May 10, 1906, dedication ceremony for the rebel soldier statue near the Lyceum, the main administrative building on campus. The speaker was Charles Scott, “a candidate for governor who often campaigned in his Confederate uniform,” Twitty wrote on Twitter.

“In their eyes, Confederate soldiers' greatest achievement did not come during the Civil War, but rather during Reconstruction, when they ensured, through force of arms, that Black people would remain subjugated,” Twitty wrote.

She transcribed Scott's speech from the report in the Vicksburg Herald.

“There was a time, I grant you, during the nightmare called the reconstruction, when these men boldly, aggressively and intentionally overrode the letter of the law that they might maintain the spirit of the law and preserve Anglo Saxon civilization as a priceless heritage for their children’s children and for the benefit of our common country, the people of the north as well as the people of the south," Scott said. "Indeed, do you know that I regard this act as the crowning glory of the Confederate soldier. It overshadows all his brilliant victories on the field of battle.”

Since late May, widespread protests over racial injustice in the United States have focused new attention on the public display of Confederate monuments and other symbols.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says about 780 Confederate monuments and statues stand on public property in the U.S., and at least 50 of those are in Mississippi.

Many of the monuments were put up in the early 20th Century, as groups such as United Daughters of the Confederacy pushed a “Lost Cause” narrative that minimized slavery as a central cause of the Civil War.

After historic votes in the Mississippi Legislature in late June, the state retired a 126-year-old banner that was the last state flag in the U.S. with the Confederate battle emblem. A commission will design a new flag that cannot have the emblem and must have the phrase, “In God We Trust.” That lone design will go on the statewide ballot in November.

During the past few weeks, supervisors in Mississippi's Bolivar, Leflore, Lowndes, Noxubee and Washington counties have voted to move Confederate statues away from courthouses.

Supervisors in Neshoba and Lauderdale counties could consider requests Monday.

A Mississippi law enacted in 2004 says no war monument may be “relocated, removed, disturbed, altered, renamed or rededicated.” But the law also says: “The governing body may move the memorial to a more suitable location if it is determined that the location is more appropriate to displaying the monument.”

Lafayette County supervisors voted unanimously July 6 to leave a Confederate monument outside the old courthouse on the Oxford square, within walking distance of where the similar statue stood on the university campus.

Forrest County supervisors said in June that they will let voters decide in November whether to move a Confederate monument that was donated to the county in 1910.

In Harrison County on the Gulf Coast and in Lee County in northeastern Mississippi, residents have asked supervisors to remove Confederate soldier statues.

Some of the statues could be moved to cemeteries or museums. The one at the university was moved to a site where Confederate soldiers are buried in unmarked graves in a remote corner of campus, behind a former basketball arena.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111322

Reported Deaths: 3202
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7751171
DeSoto663677
Harrison481181
Jackson431978
Rankin380886
Madison371792
Lee341379
Forrest295177
Jones283182
Washington251497
Lafayette241742
Lauderdale2344130
Lamar214938
Bolivar198075
Oktibbeha194654
Neshoba1806111
Lowndes173962
Panola165136
Leflore160086
Sunflower157449
Warren152154
Monroe144872
Pontotoc143519
Pike136455
Lincoln134854
Copiah134636
Marshall132626
Scott123229
Coahoma123136
Grenada120137
Simpson118148
Yazoo117233
Union113925
Holmes113260
Tate112739
Leake112239
Itawamba109024
Pearl River108256
Adams104342
Prentiss101619
Wayne98521
Alcorn95512
George93517
Marion93242
Covington91625
Tippah85120
Newton84227
Chickasaw82024
Tallahatchie81825
Winston81521
Tishomingo79040
Hancock76927
Attala76525
Clarke71448
Clay67221
Jasper66616
Walthall63327
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith58116
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence49514
Yalobusha48414
Perry48022
Carroll46012
Greene45317
Stone45014
Amite41513
Quitman4136
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39411
Webster36513
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31815
Benton3054
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26310
Franklin2303
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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