As of 24 June 2020 , there are at least 122 public spaces with Confederate monuments in Alabama. Some booed him while others chanted, “Stand with us!”. "It started with Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, but George Floyd is the breaking point.". As cities and states grapple with the future of Confederate monuments, the Alabama Supreme Court has … It remained in place as Bull Connor, likely the most infamous and reviled police chief in American history, ordered his men to sic snarling dogs on nonviolent protesters in Kelly Ingram Park, a few short blocks away. Tonight. A statue of Charles Linn, a blockade runner in the Confederate navy and an early Birmingham industrialist after whom the park is named, was an early casualty. Alabama’s governor went on Twitter for a coronavirus Q&A. And behind them, they left the obelisk. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. You could say that it started with the killing of George Floyd. If this town was 71% Jewish, we wouldn’t have a statue of Adolf Hitler.”. But that thing they all came to destroy was still there. The then-mayor of Birmingham Mel Drennen cosigned and said that his city’s new Confederate monument “memorialized … a cause that will ever remain fresh in the memories of our Southern people.” Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall filed an anticipated lawsuit against the city of Birmingham over the city's removal of a Confederate monument. Our governor is better than your governor. This was not a new demand, either, and Johnson was not the first person to make it. Hey, Georgia! Only a few dozen protestors and interested folks showed up in the park on Monday afternoon and evening, but the force and scale of Sunday's events were enough to drive Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to commit to bringing the memorial down by noon Tuesday. The majority of veterans served in Alabama outfits, while others moved to Alabama after the war. The death of George Floyd, who was killed on video last month by a police officer in Minneapolis, shocked the nation and drove many thousands of Americans into streets from Alabama to Alaska. Floyd's death was the direct impetus for the Sunday protests in Birmingham that ultimately led to the dramatic removal of the monument in Linn Park a day later. And it didn't come down all through the Occupy protests nearly a decade ago and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations of more recent years. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin defeated Bell in an election that fall, and he inherited the conundrum from his predecessor, just in time for the Alabama Legislature to pass a monuments law protecting the statue. The odd thing about the protest in Linn Park was that through much of it, I felt perfectly safe. The fate of the state seemed frozen in place until the events of the last week made the obelisk again a rallying point. The city took down the more than 50-foot-tall obelisk following protests over the police death … A few feet from me, two young women began hurling large chunks of sandstone, chipped from the monument, through windows at the Birmingham Board of Education headquarters. Confederate monument in Linn Park after being defaced by protesters. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. By the end of the night, it would be a riot. Confederate Memorial Barrier Illegal, Alabama Supreme Court Says - Birmingham, AL - A barrier around a Confederate monument in Birmingham's Linn Park has been ruled illegal by … The monument was dismantled and removed in 2020. As a black mayor running a major city in which over 70 percent of residents are African-American, Woodfin probably didn’t hurt his local political future much by presiding over this historic moment. A few folks wrapped bungee lines around the monument and rope line pulled in vain against the 50 ft. tower of solid granite. Two doughboy statues … by Jessica Leigh Hester June 5, 2020 How an Infamous Confederate Obelisk Finally Came Down © 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. That decision, which results from violent protests that erupted in downtown … In its legal briefs, the city was blunt. The monument in Birmingham, Alabama, became a flashpoint in the fight for racial justice. The plywood was placed there on orders of former Birmingham Mayor William Bell after the state passed the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act in 2017 in response to calls for removal of Confederate monuments on public property. For more than a century, a 52-foot obelisk has stood in the center of Birmingham, Ala., a monument to Confederate soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War.. The base of the Confederate monument in Linn Park. You could say that it started with the election of Donald Trump. The Confederate memorial was scarred from hundreds of hammer blows and defaced with scribblings in spray paint. That was three months ago. And it will probably only raise his national political profile and stoke new suggestions that he run for state or national office. The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument was a commemorative obelisk that was erected in Linn Park, Birmingham, Alabama in 1905. Someone had set a fire at the statue’s feet. On Monday night, the city of Birmingham commenced the removal of one of Alabama’s most prominent physical memorials to its racist history. Mo Brooks spouts nonsense, Ivey finds her nerve. But further down the street, more glass shattered. A short while later, colleagues of mine were assaulted in front of the Alabama Power building. The demonstration, which started out peacefully but ultimately devolved into violence and extensive property damage in downtown Birmingham, represented a cry for justice by a people fed up with the seemingly endless series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of U.S. law enforcement officers. Had they been successful, the monument would have crushed the truck and likely killed or injured bystanders. It turned into a riot. The obelisk was there through the entire tenure of Gov. I spoke with a few people I knew. Or slavery. On Jefferson Davis Day, no less. Sunday evening my wife and I had just put our children to bed, and I was about to go on an evening grocery run when something seemed to be happening in Birmingham. Birmingham will be hit with a $25,000 fine. The possibility of removing the monument was implicit in the 1919 proposal by architects Frank Hartley Anderson, William Warren and Eugene Knight for a Memorial Civic Center that would serve as a comprehensive memorial with an emphasis on the recently-ended "Great War". All rights reserved (About Us). Protestors attempted to topple a century-old Confederate monument in Linn Park Sunday night before rioting in downtown Birmingham. Marshall said taking the historic monument down is in violation of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. What had begun as a tight-knit crowd with a singular mission disintegrated into a meandering riot, destroying storefronts and setting fires. Tom Gordon/BirminghamWatch. Someone shouted that they were going to Five Points, but the mass of people began to fracture a block or two away from the park and take detours down the city’s east/west avenues. Congrats, Twitter, you’ve been Jeff Session-ized, Alabama’s Black Belt is in trouble, again. All that’s left of the Confederate memorial in downtown Birmingham’s Linn Park is a graffiti-covered base. For the last three years, the city and state have been in a legal battle over the monument in court, with state Attorney General Steve Marshall fighting to preserve it. Although the monument had been damaged during Sunday night’s riots, Birmingham has been trying to take the statue down for years. About halfway there, I saw the orange light reflecting off the county courthouse wall. Several dozen linked arms along the Park Place sidewalk in front of the Confederate monument, but hundreds of others began marching southward down 20th Street and through the heart of the city’s business district. The obelisk was taken apart and loaded onto a flatbed truck Monday night, a day after it sparked protests and looting of nearby businesses. Kyle Whitmire is the state political columnist for the Alabama Media Group. But this was a moment that took place outside the horse race of electoral politics. It was a disaster. BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Attorney General Steve Marshall has filed a new lawsuit against the City of Birmingham for its removal of the Confederate monument in Linn Park. Easily the most visible legacy of the young mayor's tenure to date is his decision to defy the state and bring a construction crew in to dismantle the monument and take it down piece by piece with a crane bearing a massive hook, the long chunks carted away on the back of a flatbed truck. But this night, Johnson pointed to that obelisk in the park and said it had to come down. Birmingham's 1905 Confederate monument coming down. The John Merrill Show is on again. All rights reserved (About Us). The Alabama Supreme Court has upheld a state law barring cities from moving or altering Confederate monuments.Justices on Wednesday reversed a circuit judge’s ruling that declared the law unenforceable because it violates the free speech rights of local communities.PDF: Alabama Supreme Court rulingCourt records show the state of Alabama has imposed a $25,000 fine on the City of Birmingham. Finding meaning in the ruins of coronavirus and Legos. The cohesion of the crowd was suddenly gone. Others yelled at them to stop. You can follow his work on his Facebook page, The War on Dumb. (Video above: Confederate monument in Birmingham's Linn Park removed)In the new lawsuit, Marshall says removing a historic monument violates the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which … Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has demanded that the city of Birmingham pay a $25,000 fine for removing a Confederate statue in violation of … Birmingham, the crucible of America's long racial divide and the site of some of the most brutal examples of its enforcement, is now without its largest confederate memorial for the first time in over a century. Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit against Birmingham. RELATED: This is our history - how white supremacy still thrives in Alabama. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/21). Three years ago, not long after the white supremacist marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, then-Mayor William Bell had a crude plywood box built around the Confederate monument in Linn Park. There’s no other word to describe what happened and still be honest. A statue of Charles Linn, a blockade runner in the Confederate navy and an early Birmingham industrialist after whom the park is named, was an early casualty. How about never? 1514856906 1590999392. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. An unidentified man walks past a toppled statue of Charles Linn, a city founder who was in the Confederate Navy, in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday, June 1, 2020, following a night of unrest after protests calling for justice for George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis. Birmingham Age-Herald, April 27, 1905, p. 5. In front of the Harbert Center, someone set fire to a flag. Following the removal of the Confederate monument in Birmingham's Linn Park Monday night, Attorney General Steve Marshall announced another lawsuit against the City Tuesday afternoon. As the sun set, more people trickled into the park. A few strangers who knew my work said hello to me. Mayor Says Confederate Monument Will Be Removed From Linn Park. Throughout the evening the protesters grew frustrated with toppling the Confederate monument and turned their attention to other artifacts around Linn Park. One of my colleagues, Shauna Stuart, was live-streaming an impassioned speech in Linn Park by Jermaine “Funnymaine” Johnson. Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has vowed to remove a controversial Confederate monument from Linn Park “as soon as possible.”. Between the attempts, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin walked into the middle of the crowd, which had then grown by hundreds, with a bullhorn. The problem with writing about chaos is that any attempt to fit it into a neat narrative is arbitrary, and it’s not fair to Johnson to suggest he started it all. BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Attorney General Steve Marshall has filed a new lawsuit against the City of Birmingham for its removal of the Confederate monument in Linn Park. Alabama lawmakers seemed ready to amend the law to be even more punitive but that bill died when coronavirus pandemic cut the 2020 session short. The site operated from 1902-1939 as a haven for disabled or indigent veterans of the. On Sunday, the obelisk — known formally as the Confederate Sailors and Soldiers Monument — was the site of a speech from Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, who … Johnson is a radio host and a comedian, but his speech to a handful of protesters in Linn Park was serious. I walked around freely. When I got there, a couple hundred protesters had gathered and a handful were already chipping with sledgehammers at the base of the century-old statue. And on Twitter. It remained through the salad days of the Ku Klux Klan and the largely forgotten founding of the Black Panther Party in Lowndes County, 100 miles to Birmingham's south. The time to expand Medicaid is now. But with that flame at Jefferson’s feet, there had been an escalation. Tom Gordon, BirminghamWatch. History. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/21). I can’t tell you where it all started. It’s not right. I wondered how long it would take someone to find the statue of Jefferson on the east side of the park. Instead, their two attempts ended with two broken ropes. Graffiti is show on the damaged base of a Confederate memorial that was removed overnight in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Alabama’s secret prison plan puts public information into quarantine, It’s not the Alabama State House that needs replacing, As cases there lead state, Mobile mayor wants to reopen. He asked the protesters to go home and give him a day to tear that statue down instead. Late last year, Birmingham lost the court fight, but the Alabama Supreme Court said then that the worst the state could do to Birmingham was a $25,000 fine. Confederate Memorial Park is the site of Alabama's only Confederate Soldiers' Home. He stopped short of having it removed because the state passed a law earlier that year aimed at keeping it and similarly fraught objects from being torn down. The protesters looped one end of the rope about a third of the way up the obelisk and hitched the other end to the back of a red GMC pickup truck. But it couldn't survive for even a full day after a large-scale rally saw another racially divisive monument destroyed by protesters and a statue of Thomas Jefferson burned just feet away on Sunday. But it is just the latest in a series of injustices that black people in Alabama and beyond are no longer willing to put up with, according to Mia Speights, a black Birmingham resident who came out to the park on Monday to show her support for the cause. I moved with them. The Confederate monument had to come down, he said. The cornerstone of the Monument plinth was laid during the 1894 Reunion of United Confederate Veterans on Confederate Decoration Day, April 26. In Birmingham, Confederate Memorial Day was first observed as a school holiday on April 26, 1905, the day the Confederate Monument was unveiled. Local reports noted the Confederate statue memorializing Charles Linn, captain of the Confederate Navy, in Birmingham was, in fact, torn down using … Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now On Monday night, June 1, the city of Birmingham began to dismantle the Confederate monument in Linn Park. Johnson and other leaders of the group admonished the crowd against damaging any other property. On Monday, crews went … Two doughboy statues on either side of the Confederate monument were targets later. I don’t know when or how it will end. The monument’s base had been placed in 1894, the same year in which the Newsletter July 2015 Photograph, 1905. ultimately devolved into violence and extensive property damage. The doomed memorial stood high over Birmingham when black smoke from even taller steel plant smokestacks still choked people's lungs on hot summer days. The 52-foot-tall Confederate Soldiers & Sailors Monument towered over historic Linn Park for 115 years. During his visit for the Olmsted Brothers' 1925 report and recommendations for "A Park System for Birmingham" landscape architect W. B. Marquis wrote that "The Confederate Monument located on the axis of 20th St. at the so… For generations in this town, it was a constant reminder of the losing faction in a war that ended four decades before it was installed. But I can tell you where it turned — the fire someone set at Thomas Jefferson’s feet. Johnson told the crowd they should give the mayor a chance to follow through on his promise, but as some in the crowd cussed and jeered at the idea, he said it was up to them if they wanted to keep trying. I crossed paths with coworkers and colleagues from other media. The city took down the … BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Workers in Alabama’s largest city began removing a Confederate monument Monday night after demonstrators failed to knock down the obelisk the night before. Somebody change the channel. Protesters with a truck and chains try to topple a Confederate monument in Linn Park during a protest. When will Alabama? Through all the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights era, it stood as a physical representation of bloody nineteenth-century efforts to try to keep slavery intact. Robert Walker poses for a photograph on the remains of a Confederate memorial that was removed overnight in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Birmingham takes down Confederate monument after 115 ... - al The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. "I've been saying there was going to be a breaking point with police brutality," she said. Skip Navigation Share on Facebook It survived for nearly three more years after Mayor William Bell had a plywood box built around its base and painted black in 2017. Remember when Alabama lawmakers said porn was a public health emergency? A tall man with a baseball cap over his dreadlocks beat the base of the statue with a blunt side of an ax. Mayor Randall Woodfin had promised to remove the monument by Tuesday to stop any more of the violent reactions like those seen Sunday … George Wallace, who personified state-sanctioned racism in the U.S. What I’ll take from the quarantine: My daughter’s first steps, Stop with the California comparisons, Kay Ivey, Lieutenant governor demands Alabama coronavirus task force do its job, If Alabama has to go back to work, so should the Legislature. All while, in the middle of it all, dozens of young men, and a few women, whacked at a sandstone obelisk. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. Men kicked over trash cans and struck park benches with sledgehammers. You could say that it started with the Civil War. Marshall said taking the historic monument down is in violation of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. In 2015, Birmingham’s park board approved a resolution to remove the 52-foot-tall monument. When it happened, the shift in the crowd was something I felt before I saw. And on Instagram. Before I reached the grocery store Sunday night my wife called to say I should probably go to Linn Park instead. Shortly after that, someone found the statue of Thomas Jefferson. Hundreds of onlookers abandoned their places around the Confederate monument and swarmed. The Linn Park statue honors the legacy of those who enslaved, tortured and murdered the ancestors of African-Americans, and it does so in a majority African American city that does not want it there, the city argued. The City of Mobile joined Birmingham in taking down Confederate monuments, and when the City of Huntsville announced its intentions to do the … After a few minutes of pleas from protest leaders, the crowd shifted again back toward the monument. As Andre McKoy, a black Birmingham resident who went to Linn Park Monday afternoon to show his support for the protest movement, put it: “Birmingham is 71% black but we’ve got a Confederate monument right downtown. This is the most dangerous election. Robert Walker poses for a photograph on the remains of a Confederate memorial that was removed overnight in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, June … City council members wanted Bell to tear the bleak statue down, but Bell sought to buy time and avoid attracting another hoard of neo-Confederates to Birmingham. The Confederate Soldiers & Sailors Monument in Linn Park was commissioned by the Pelham Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and dedicated in 1905. The amount of thought that went into this enterprise could be measured in feet — roughly 30 ft of rope to pull down a 50 ft. monument. And the most important. 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