FILE - This Thursday, June 28, 2018 file photo shows a Confederate monument dedicated in 1909 standing in the middle of the square in Tuskegee, Ala.. Following nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd and an attack on the monument by vandals, the chairman of the Macon County Commission said officials will cover the memorial with a tarp and are looking for ways to remove it. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)
FILE - This Thursday, June 28, 2018 file photo shows a Confederate monument dedicated in 1909 standing in the middle of the square in Tuskegee, Ala.. Following nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd and an attack on the monument by vandals, the chairman of the Macon County Commission said officials will cover the memorial with a tarp and are looking for ways to remove it. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)

Mostly black Alabama county covering up Confederate statue

By JAY REEVES Time of article published Jun 10, 2020

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BIRMINGHAM — A majority black county known as a birthplace of African American empowerment will cover up a Confederate memorial erected more than a century ago and is looking for ways to remove it permanently, a government leader said Tuesday.

The east Alabama county, which is more than 80% black, also is researching what will be needed to remove the statue from its base and relocate it elsewhere, perhaps to a nearby heritage museum, Maxwell said.

“It’s part of the history of the county whether you like it or not, and we want to preserve it,” Maxwell said.

Erected by an Old South heritage group, the

Other cities including Birmingham have removed rebel memorials during the demonstrations, and Maxwell said it's time to take down the monument in Tuskegee, the home of Tuskegee University and the place where the nation's first black military pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen, trained during World War II.

The county is researching the implications of an Alabama law passed in 2017 to prevent the removal of Confederate monuments, Maxwell said. Officials in Birmingham said the cost of a $25,000 state assessment for removing its Confederate monument was worth more than the price of continued unrest.

Maxwell said he is trying to reach representatives of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which had a local chapter as recently as 2018, to discuss the memorial. A Birmingham-area lawyer who previously spoke for the heritage group said he no longer represented it.

Controlled by whites at the time, the county gave a downtown square to the Daughters group in 1906 for use as a “park for white people” and a Confederate memorial. The park has been open to all for decades since the end of legalized segregation, and Maxwell said that means the county can take back ownership of the land.

The heritage group has previously maintained it still owns the land and the statue.

Officials elsewhere also are trying to take down Old South monuments, most of which went up with Confederate descendants were trying to both honor their relatives and perpetuate the

A judge has temporarily blocked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond. The Alabama coastal city of Mobile took down a statue of a Confederate naval officer this week, but isn't ruling out the possibility that it might be returned to the same spot.

AP

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