Take em down

A fierce battle is raging over this monument to white supremacy in New Orleans

Screen shot

While you probably would never get an elected official to endorse graffiti, much of New Orleans city government would probably agree with the words that were tagged on the city’s Liberty Place monument, which openly celebrates white supremacy, sometime over the weekend.

Passers-by discovered the words “TAKE ‘EM ALL DOWN NOW,” as well as red paint splashed onto the stone monument on Monday morning.

The monument is one of several structures dedicated to the city’s Confederate legacy, although it actually references an event that took place after the Civil War. The “Battle of Liberty Place” was uprising of Confederate veterans against the state’s Reconstructionist government in 1874. The monument has been a target of controversy going back to the 1970s.

After the 2015 massacre in Charleston, where shooter Dylann Roof was inspired by Confederate imagery, city leaders began to openly debate whether to remove the Liberty Place monument, as well as statues of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis.

The city council voted in December 2015 to remove them, but there was no way it was going to be that easy. Groups seeking to keep the monuments in place sued the city over the planned removal, and that decision is still tied up in court.

Which brings us to the present and the words “TAKE EM ALL DOWN NOW.” Maybe someday New Orleans will be able to say goodbye to its more racist history. But, for now, the monuments are here to say.

Story Tags