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.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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