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. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. Someone had set a fire at the statue’s feet. That decision, which results from violent protests that erupted in downtown … One of my colleagues, Shauna Stuart, was live-streaming an impassioned speech in Linn Park by Jermaine “Funnymaine” Johnson. Johnson and other leaders of the group admonished the crowd against damaging any other property. And on Instagram. The City of Mobile joined Birmingham in taking down Confederate monuments, and when the City of Huntsville announced its intentions to do the … 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. 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. Tom Gordon, BirminghamWatch. 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. 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. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has made good on his promise by ordering the removal of one of Alabama’s most prominent Confederate monuments. 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). When it happened, the shift in the crowd was something I felt before I saw. I moved with them. Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall filed an anticipated lawsuit against the city of Birmingham over the city's removal of a Confederate monument. Some booed him while others chanted, “Stand with us!”. ultimately devolved into violence and extensive property damage. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. 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.” But with that flame at Jefferson’s feet, there had been an escalation. Congrats, Twitter, you’ve been Jeff Session-ized, Alabama’s Black Belt is in trouble, again. The obelisk was taken apart and loaded onto a flatbed truck Monday night, a day after it sparked protests and looting of nearby businesses. It survived for nearly three more years after Mayor William Bell had a plywood box built around its base and painted black in 2017. In front of the Harbert Center, someone set fire to a flag. 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. Others yelled at them to stop. 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. Remember when Alabama lawmakers said porn was a public health emergency? I can’t tell you where it all started. 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.. Johnson is a radio host and a comedian, but his speech to a handful of protesters in Linn Park was serious. The site operated from 1902-1939 as a haven for disabled or indigent veterans of the. You could say that it started with the killing of George Floyd. George Wallace, who personified state-sanctioned racism in the U.S. If this town was 71% Jewish, we wouldn’t have a statue of Adolf Hitler.”. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. 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. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument was a commemorative obelisk that was erected in Linn Park, Birmingham, Alabama in 1905. 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