More than 100 Confederate tributes removed since 2015 mass killing but more than 1,700 remain, report says
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Some remnants of the Confederacy have been removed from prominent U.S. cities and locations to great fanfare, like the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds after the Charleston church mass shooting in 2015.
In other cases, as in Baltimore, city officials last year removed several confederate monuments in the dead of night.
All told, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, at least 110 monuments and other tributes to the Confederacy have been removed across the country since a white gunman killed nine people at historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church three years ago this month.
Despite those removals, however, more than 1,700 monuments, symbols, dedications and other tributes remain, according to the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors U.S. hate groups.
That does not include references to the Confederacy at battlefields and in museums and other places determined to be historical in nature.
“We’ve seen a remarkable effort to remove Confederate monuments from the public square, yet the impact has been limited by a strong backlash among many white Southerners who still cling to the myth of the ‘Lost Cause’ and the revisionist history that these monuments represent,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.
The So-called Lost Cause, an ideology that reveres the Antebellum South, minimizes the role of slavery in the Civil War, and views the war as an honorable one intended to fight against Northern aggression.
In terms of monuments alone, 772 are still standing in the United States honoring the Confederacy, spread over 23 states and Washington D.C., as of April 30, according to the SPLC
Georgia tops the list with 115 monuments, while Virginia follows with 108, and North Carolina rounds out the top three with 97 monuments, the group noted.
Beyond monuments, some of the dedications to Confederate leaders are public hubs, including counties, cities and public schools.
There are 80 counties and cities named for Confederates and 100 public schools named after Confederate States Army Cmdr. Robert E. Lee, Confederate States President Jefferson Davis or other icons, according to the report.
Despite calls for the removal of similar monuments and dedications after race-related incidents like the Charleston shooting or the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally last year, which stemmed from the debate over the then-proposed removal of a statue of Lee, seven states prevent such removals, the reported noted.
Five of those states — Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, which all were members of the former Confederacy — had laws in place before the 2015 shooting protecting monuments, according to the SPLC.
Two others — North Carolina and Alabama — have enacted such laws in the past three years.
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