Is There a Racist Monument In Your Town? Check This Map to Find Out
The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked Confederate monuments for years, but the map has taken on a new utility now.
All across the country, monuments to the Confederacy, which lost a traitorous war waged for their right to own slaves, are being beheaded, toppled, and thrown into the river. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a map of where these monuments are located, if you were interested in such a thing.
Having a monument to Confederate soldiers seems a little bit like having statues to Martin James Monti, who eagerly confessed to joining the Waffen SS during his trial for treason in 1949: just a weird thing to celebrate! Why so many states want to celebrate losing a war makes little sense, until you click around on the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Whose Heritage?" map, which tells you not only the location of these monuments but also when they were dedicated. For instance, the bust of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson in the Bronx, which was removed in 2017, was dedicated in 1957 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. 1957 is long after the Civil War, but smack dab in the middle of the Civil Rights movement. What better way to scare uppity Black people than erect statues of Confederate soldiers in black majority neighborhoods, right? Even though these monuments are blatant attempts to frighten black people into staying docile, some are still protected by the state, like this statue of a Klu Klux Klan "Grand Wizard" in Tennessee, which was erected in 1975.
The list could use some updating, though, as it still lists the recently removed statue of Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia, as "active" even though it was recently removed by protesters. Although this statue is more than a century old, it was installed over 50 years after the end of the Civil War in 1865, when freed slaves might need a reminder about who was really in charge. Motherboard reached out to the Southern Poverty Law Center to ask if it's tracking the monuments removed by protesters but they did not immediately respond.
Luckily, the Southern Poverty Law Center has a form where you can update the status of various monuments. You could even, I don't know, submit any monuments that are missing, especially if they are close to large bodies of water. If you're browsing the map today, you might also be interested in this Twitter thread about how to safely remove obelisks, or any other large, mostly vertical statue. You never know when those skills will come in handy.