73 Confederate monuments were removed or renamed in 2021, report shows

Amidst the Southern Poverty Law Center’s newest release of the third edition of “Whose Heritage?” a new study finds that 73 Confederate memorials or statues were removed from American public spaces in 2021. 

With the removal of 73, 723 remain in the entire nation (CNN). Civil rights activists claim the purpose of removing Confederate statues and remembrances is that such imagery stand as symbols of “racism in the US dating back to the Civil War” (CNN).

The SPLC’s “Whose Heritage?” publication states, “there has been progress in removing Confederate symbols of hate and white supremacy. Public opinion is changing as more people learn about the cause of the Civil War—slavery—and the motivations behind the dedication of Confederate memorials” (SPLC).

The SPLC notes the Charleston Church massacre of 2015, Heather Heyer’s death at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, and George’s Floyd’s 2020 death as tragedies that herald the need to remove Confederate symbolism (The Hill). 

“Destroying these monuments and these memorials will not erase the legacy of slavery,” said SPLC researcher Kimberly Probolus. “But abolishing these memorials is a first and essential step in combating the white supremacist values of the Confederacy …” (CNN).

Additionally, the SPLC also found “741 roads, 201 schools, and 22 holidays that honor the Confederacy and ‘do important cultural work to strengthen white supremacy.’”

Activist organizations such as these aim to continue to make efforts to remove Confederate symbolism, stating, “The devastating impact of the pandemic on black communities in the United States is one of the many ways the legacy of slavery and the Confederacy has manifested itself” (The AU Times).




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