More than a year after Charlottesville, these cities across the US have torn down controversial Confederate monuments

  • Over a year after the debate over a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia turned deadly, more than 1,700 Confederate symbols still stood in public places across the country.
  • Though hundreds of statues and plaques have been removed, protests and decisions over each memorial often turn fiery.
  • As debates rage on, here are several cities that have removed Confederate symbols from schools, parks, and other official spaces.

University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt announced on January 15 that the base and plaque from the statue of a Confederate soldier would be removed from a prominent spot on campus after years of controversy.

The decision came months after a bloody protest had toppled the statue, and more than a year after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent and reinvigorated a national conversation about the role of Confederate statues, memorials, and plaques in public spaces.

In a July 2018 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, over 1,700 symbols of the Confederacy were found to stand in public places in the US.

The movement to rid public spaces of these monuments is ongoing. Here are some of America’s major cities that have already done away with them.


Durham, North Carolina

Getty ImagesDemonstrators jump on an Confederate flag replica in reaction to a potential white supremacists rally on August 18, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.

The Confederate figures: Confederate General Robert E. Lee along with the Confederate Soldiers Monument (known as “The Boys Who Wore Grey”), which memorialised the soldiers from Durham County who fought for the Confederacy.

What happened: Duke University removed a Lee statue from Duke Chapel in August 2017. Five days prior, protesters also toppled the Confederate Soldiers Monument, and now, eight of them face misdemeanour charges. On Monday, the charged protesters will appear in court, according to The Independent Weekly.

Future plans: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has proposed relocating three more Confederate monuments outside the State Capitol to the Bentonville Battlefield Historic Site, according to a local CBS station.


San Diego, California

The Confederate figure: Former President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis.

What happened: A plaque honouring Davis was quietly removed August 16, 2017 from a city park on orders from Mayor Kevin Faulconer.


Gainesville, Daytona Beach, St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Bradenton, Florida

Getty ImagesA Confederate monument featuring a statue of a Confederate soldier is seen in Hemming Park in the midst of a national controversy over whether Confederate symbols should be removed from public display on August 20, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Confederate figures: Johnny Reb, a character that represented the Confederacy; Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.

What happened: In July 2017, Orlando took down a Johnny Reb statue (which later went to a cemetery). A month later, Daytona Beach removed plaques commemorating Confederate soldiers. Around the same time, St. Petersburg removed a plaque recognising Jackson, and Gainesville and Bradenton did away with two other Confederate monuments.

In March 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that replaced a statue of Confederate general with civil rights activist Mary Mcleod Bethune

Future plans: There are at least 61 public spaces with Confederate monuments in Florida, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In August 2017, the Florida League of Mayors started considering whether to keep individual memorials.


Annapolis, Maryland

Eric Baradat/Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesA statue of Roger Taney at the Maryland State House.

The Confederate figure: Roger Taney, a Supreme Court Justice who voted with the 1857 Dred Scott Decision, which ruled that black Americans should not be considered full American citizens.

What happened: In August, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan called for the removal of Taney’s statue, which was located on a perch in front of the State House, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Future plans: The eventual home of the monument, now sitting in storage, is uncertain.


Ellicott City and Baltimore in Maryland

Getty ImagesBaltimore city workers remove graffiti from the pedestal where a statue dedicated to Robert E. Lee and Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson stood August 16, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Confederate figures: Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson; Roger B. Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision.

What happened: Baltimore took down four monuments of the Confederacy in August. That same month, in Ellicott City, the Howard County Circuit Court building removed a memorial that bears the names of 92 Confederate soldiers.

Future plans: On February 5, the Baltimore City Council voted to rededicate a former Confederate site to Harriet Tubman, according to The Baltimore Sun. The city is also considering acquiring the Confederate statues, which are being stored in a public lot.


St. Louis, Missouri

The Confederate figures: Confederate soldiers and sailors.

What happened: The Missouri Civil War Museum facilitated the removal of a 32-foot granite and stone monument from an outdoor park in June 2017, 103 years after its installation.

Future plans:An agreement signed before its removal allows for the memorial to be displayed at a Civil War museum or historical site.


Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The Confederate figure: “Silent Sam” is a bronze statue of an unnamed Confederate soldier donated to University of North Carolina campus by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1909 to commemorate “the sons of the University who died for their beloved Southland 1861-1865.”

What happened: The statue, which was prominently placed near the main entrance of campus, sparked controversy for years that culminated in hundreds of angry protestors toppling the figure off its base in August 2018. Crews removed the remaining base and plaque after a declaration by university Chancellor Carol Folt in January 2019.

Future plans: The base and plaque will be stored in an unidentified location.


New York, New York

The Confederate figures: Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

What happened: In August 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a “review of all symbols of hate on city property.” A closed Episcopal church soon removed two plaques honouring Lee, and Bronx Community College took down busts of Lee and Jackson.

Future plans: Several more memorials remain, including a number of street names that pay tribute to the Confederacy. As The New Yorker notes, it can be hard to get rid of Confederate monuments in the city if they are on private property. There are also powerful organisations, like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, that lobby to preserve them.


Memphis, Tennessee

The Confederate figures: Confederate General and early KKK member Nathan Bedford Forrest; Confederate President Jefferson Davis; and Confederate Captain J. Harvey Mathes.

What happened: Two statues of Forrest and Davis were ousted from downtown Memphis parks in December 2017, according to The Commercial Appeal. A bust honouring Mathes was also removed from a park.

Future plans: Tennessee House Republicans have launched an investigation into whether the city violated any laws by removing the monuments. There is also a discussion about moving the graves of Forrest and his wife (which are in a Memphis park) back to New Jersey’s Elmwood Cemetery, where they were initially buried.


Nashville, Tennessee

The Confederate figures: Confederate veterans.

What happened: The Ryman Auditorium, the main music hall associated with the Grand Ole Opry established in 1892, removed a sign commemorating a 1897 reunion of Confederate veterans that had previously been covered. The sign was placed in a museum exhibit about the hall’s history.


Dallas, Texas

The Confederate figures: Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, William L. Cabell, and Albert Johnston; Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

What happened: From August to December 2017,Dallas’ Confederate War Memorial – comprised of four statues and five inscriptions – was removed piece-by-piece from Pioneer Park Cemetery near the Dallas Convention Center. In November,Robert E. Lee Elementary was renamed after Alice Moore Alexander (the name of a local black teacher).

Three other schools in Dallas were renamed in June 2018.


Austin, Texas

The Confederate figures: Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston; and John Reagan, head of the Confederate States of America Post-office Department

What happened: The University of Texas at Austin removed three Confederate statues from a prominent grassy plaza, The Texas Tribune reported.

Future plans: In 2017, the Austin City Council began the process of renaming Robert E. Lee Road after Azie Taylor Morton, an Austin native and the only black woman to serve as US treasurer, according to KXAN.


Charlottesville, Virginia

The Confederate figures: Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

What happened: After a contentious series of hearings, the city voted to remove a Jackson statue from a park, according to NBC.

Future plans: Both statues, which have been covered with tarps, are now the subject of a lawsuit challenging the city’s authority to remove them. The suit is scheduled to be heard in January 2019.


The Capitol, National Cathedral, and Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC

The Confederate figures: Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

What happened: The National Cathedral announced it would remove two stained-glass windows depicting the two Confederate soldiers in September 2017.

In August 2017, the stewards of the National Mall announced that an inscription on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial was updated to say that the founder owned slaves.

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