Ever since the death of George Floyd — May 25, 2020 — more than 100 Confederacy symbols have been relocated, removed, or given a new name. Floyd is a black American hip-hop artist who was killed by Minneapolis police officers.
Over 100 Confederate Symbols Removed Since the Death of George Floyd
It has taken almost five months for civil rights activists to achieve this goal. This information was collected by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — a civil rights group working on the project, “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.”
The SPLC has worked hard to remove the “painful monuments to anti-Black racism,” according to their Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks. Removing these symbols of hate strong message.
For our nation to heal, we cannot tolerate Confederate symbols that honor and mythologize a cruel, hateful past.
The SPLC started collecting data on all of the Confederate symbols in June of 2015. It was during this time Dylann Roof — a white supremacist — who murdered nine black parishioners inside of a church in Charleston, South Carolina
Beginning of Removing Confederate Symbols
During the five years to follow, SPLC managed to banish 142 Confederate symbols. After the public death of Floyd that number significantly jumped in just a matter of months. This ruthless act accelerated the SPLC’s cause.
Brooks believes that it was “After the public killing of Mr. Floyd, it seems that people just really began to question things that they had believed and been taught before about these symbols and what they meant.”
She continued saying that was the breaking point for people. The senseless act helped people acknowledge the historic “structures and foundations of white supremacy” represented by Confederate symbols.
Confederate Symbols Data Collected by the SPLC
According to the data collected by the SPLC, 64 of the 102 Confederate symbols were removed from public spaces. The SPLC has included all of the monuments which were destroyed by protestors and those taken down legally by authorities.
The information further state that 10 monuments were transferred to other locations — oftentimes these are moved to museums or cemeteries. A lake in Virginia was renamed, as were eight schools, six colleges, and three parks/trails.
Some Confederate Symbols Were Renamed
Three roads were also renamed, according to the data. Due to the blue bars and white stars of the Confederate battle flag, the state of Mississippi removed its state flag. A police department in South Dakota removed the Confederate symbol from its logo.
A town in Virginia removed the hateful symbol from its town seal. Major steps have been taken to make real changes around the Nation. There are approximately 1,800 Confederate symbols still remaining on public land. Nearly 700 of those are monuments.
The civil rights group fully supports the removal of these hateful symbols. The SPLC emphasis there is a lawful way to go about removing an offensive symbol. They have an action guide on their website which details proper instructions for the removal.
For some reason every time a peaceful movement begins, the overzealous people emerge. Once this happens the difference between these hateful symbols and history seems to become blurred.
Confederate Symbols and Hate
During a protest on the evening of October 11th, vandals destroyed windows and damaged the exterior of the Oregon Historical Society building. Roughly 200 people attended the “Indigenous Day of Rage” protest that evening.
According to the society’s Executive Director, Kerry Tychuk, an estimated amount of $25,000 will be needed for repairs. One of the vandals removed a quilt that was stitched by 15 black women in the 1970s. The quilt was made to celebrate the United States’ bicentennial.
Police located the quilt a couple of blocks away from the museum. The quilt has been sent out to be fully assessed on its damages. In addition to damaging the museum, rioters broke windows at Portland State University and shot up an empty Southeast Portland restaurant.
Both the Indian Leaders Roundtable and Portland city officials have denounced the damages that were done.
The Roundtable’s View on Confederate Symbols
We understand that there is justifiable righteous indignation over the unconscionable mistreatment of our people and communities over centuries, and that Indigenous People’s Day is a time to reflect and speak out against these injustices…. Yet we cannot condone pointless acts of vandalism and the brandishing of weapons.
The use of force and destruction lost the message the protestors were trying to make. Senseless destruction of the Nation’s history is unnecessary. Steps are being made to correct the use of Confederate symbols, violence deters these steps from happening.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Pacific Northwest News: Vandalism-damaged Oregon Historical Society will reopen Wednesday; Jayati Ramakrishnan
HuffPost: Over 100 Confederate Symbols Removed Or Renamed Since George Floyd Killing; Christopher Mathias
Southern Poverty Law Center: Newsletter
Featured Image Courtesy of Victoria Pickering’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Eli Christman’s Flickr Page Creative Commons License