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: 291891

Reported Deaths: 6605
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19470226
Hinds18555383
Harrison16385273
Rankin12498260
Jackson12401216
Lee9635160
Madison9353193
Jones7836144
Forrest7055135
Lauderdale6735225
Lowndes5989137
Lamar579379
Lafayette5688113
Washington5124128
Bolivar4567120
Oktibbeha438091
Panola424092
Warren4091113
Pearl River4070127
Pontotoc406066
Marshall397992
Monroe3971125
Union391372
Neshoba3746166
Lincoln343799
Hancock337773
Leflore3346118
Sunflower315785
Tate299172
Pike297792
Scott291367
Alcorn289760
Itawamba288471
Yazoo282662
Tippah275265
Copiah273357
Coahoma272265
Simpson269278
Prentiss267158
Leake250870
Wayne250140
Marion249478
Covington246277
Grenada244576
Adams232374
George229545
Newton222551
Winston220174
Tishomingo210965
Jasper210343
Attala205669
Chickasaw200250
Holmes181470
Clay177348
Stone170729
Tallahatchie169039
Clarke167671
Calhoun155327
Smith151131
Yalobusha141936
Greene126333
Walthall123040
Noxubee122429
Montgomery120537
Perry120133
Lawrence118420
Carroll117123
Amite110632
Webster108629
Jefferson Davis99831
Tunica97923
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91226
Kemper89222
Quitman76614
Franklin75319
Choctaw69316
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson60827
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 488973

Reported Deaths: 9660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson703321342
Mobile35725716
Madison32088437
Tuscaloosa23913404
Montgomery22369481
Shelby21714209
Baldwin19554263
Lee14827147
Morgan13529243
Etowah13091309
Calhoun13063281
Marshall11197202
Houston10019255
Limestone9303130
Elmore9283179
Cullman8856176
St. Clair8747214
Lauderdale8541209
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7424161
Walker6466240
Jackson6450101
Autauga614384
Blount6058125
Colbert5973118
Coffee522299
Dale4606106
Russell400530
Franklin396575
Covington3918105
Chilton380096
Escambia375970
Tallapoosa3533138
Clarke342348
Dallas3385139
Chambers3382102
Pike292471
Lawrence280685
Marion277492
Winston244563
Marengo243454
Bibb243259
Geneva238168
Pickens223453
Barbour208450
Hale208064
Fayette198755
Butler194865
Henry181741
Cherokee175737
Monroe165538
Randolph161240
Washington155832
Crenshaw143052
Clay142554
Macon140344
Cleburne136139
Lamar130632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120525
Bullock116033
Conecuh106423
Perry104927
Sumter98231
Greene86732
Coosa86323
Choctaw54723
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