Confederate monuments become clear targets during George Floyd protests

As Americans nationwide have spent the weekend protesting against the Minneapolis Police Department’s killing of George Floyd, and other instances of police brutality, one outlet for their anger has been monuments to the Confederacy, or statues depicting other racist historical figures. Particularly in the South, though also in other parts of the country, these monuments that glorify racists, gloss over slavery, and memorialize traitors have been damaged and defaced by demonstrators, as they serve as an obvious target for anti-racist protest.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, protesters spray-painted the statue of Confederate Lt. General Alexander P. Stewart. In Charleston, South Carolina, a Confederate Defenders statue was spray-painted and later covered up. In Richmond, Virginia, statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, were covered in graffiti.

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Richmond protesters also set fire to the headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group that many have accused of furthering white supremacy.

But it wasn’t just Confederate figures that experienced these acts of rebellion. In Nashville, Tennessee, protesters toppled a statue of racist former U.S. Senator Edward Carmack, who supported lynchings.

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And though Philadelphia protesters couldn’t take down a gigantic statue of Frank Rizzo, the former mayor whose policing policies targeted the city’s black community, they managed to both tag it and set a fire at its base.

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Many of these statues have stubbornly remained in place despite years of protest and controversy, but Rizzo’s, at least, is supposed to be moved in the near future from its current location outside City Hall.


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