Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Public Lands & Mining / Civil rights leaders want six Confederate memorials removed in Arizona

Civil rights leaders want six Confederate memorials removed in Arizona

Roy Tatum Jr., president of the East Valley NAACP, said Confederate memorials mark an era of terrorism and hate. Civil rights and faith leaders asked for six memorials in Arizona to be removed. Behind Tatum from left are Rev.  Warren Stewart Jr. and Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix. (Photo by Chris Benincaso/Cronkite News)

Roy Tatum Jr., president of the East Valley NAACP, said Confederate memorials mark an era of terrorism and hate. Civil rights and faith leaders asked for six memorials in Arizona to be removed. Behind Tatum from left are Rev.
Warren Stewart Jr. and Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix. (Photo by Chris Benincaso/Cronkite News)

Local civil rights and faith leaders are pushing for the removal of six Confederate memorials in Arizona, calling them symbols of terrorism and bigotry.

“We can’t go through our daily lives honoring symbols of hate, symbols of separation, symbols of segregation designed to tear us apart and deepen our wounds,” said Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix.

Leaders of local NAACP chapters and Black Lives Matter Phoenix said taxpayer dollars should not be spent to maintain the memorials, including one on the grounds of the state Capitol.

The group, including local clergy, asked Gov. Doug Ducey to lead the removal. Ducey’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Bolding, who represents parts of the southeast Valley and downtown Phoenix, said the 2015 shooting deaths of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston is a sign that celebration of the Confederacy has no place in a modern, free society.

Roy Tatum Jr., president of the East Valley NAACP, said memorials to Confederate leaders and soldiers are a misguided symbol of commemoration.

“They were the terrorists of their day,” he said. “They were enslavers. They were secessionists. They were segregationists. They were haters, racial bigots. Many of them lynched, robbed, raped, killed many African-Americans and also abolitionist sympathizers.”

Robert Wilbanks, a historian and genealogist, said that 80 to 85 percent of Confederate soldiers came from families who didn’t own slaves. Wilbanks said keeping the memorials helps to acknowledge a history the nation does not want to repeat.

“Having something to remember so as not to erase it completely from our historical consciousness as a country is my opposition,” Wilbanks said.

He acknowledged that white supremacists sometimes use the symbol of the Confederacy to promote hate crimes and hate speech but said most contemporary meanings of Confederate symbols remain important for states’ rights.

In recent weeks, New Orleans dismantled four Confederate monuments in a move hailed by those who said they symbolized hate and criticized by those who said the changes erased history.

The Baltimore mayor also is considering removing the city’s Confederate monuments.

The Arizona group wants six memorials removed immediately:

– Memorial to Arizona Confederate troops, Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix.
– Arizona Confederate veterans memorial, Greenwood Cemetery, Phoenix.
– Jefferson Davis Highway, U.S. Highway 60 at Peralta Road, Apache Junction.
– Arizona Confederate veterans memorial, Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Sierra Vista.
– Battle of Picacho Pass monument, Picacho Peak State Park.
– Monument at the four graves of the only Confederate soldiers killed in action (by a group of Apaches) in Arizona, Dragoon Springs stagecoach station east of Tucson.

4 comments

  1. I am a proud African American and I say let the monumentsstand as a constant reminder that even the greatest nation on earth has some unsavory history.

  2. Next we can rename the state to Western New Mexico, rename the Arizona Rangers, and change the state’s birthday.

    People are getting crazy over this subject.

  3. Thank you Jim! Our great nation has done a lot of things we aren’t necessarily proud of in hindsight (look what we did to native Americans) but any person, community or nation that forgets the lessons of history is destined to repeat its mistakes! I think we need to also look at each monument and the particular people that they represent. Are we really going to remove statues from gravesites? Were those individuals racists or bigots? Maybe and maybe not. The civil war wasn’t fought over slavery. They didn’t dare bring up the subject until the Union was certain that the war was won…and the extremists that use the Confederate Flag as a symbol of white supremacy?….no one is really listening to them anyway. The removal of monuments gives them a platform and something to fuss about! It doesn’t lead to any positive communication on race issues.

  4. Did this advocacy group miss that ISIS is tearing down and destroying non-Islamic monuments as they cannot bear having any reminder that there is a history that does not involve Islam? Those soldiers were still Americans, and they still died fighting in a war. Perhaps the (fill-in-the-blank country)-Americans will be the next to protest and state that memorials to those that died fighting in the war that involved them should be removed. Or maybe the “peace” movement will protest all memorials to those that died fighting in any war, so that there won’t be reminders there was war in the past, and then history books will be re-written to remove all references to war starting at the beginning of recorded history so that humanity will only be peaceful. Entwining modern civil rights in the revision of history serves no one but those that profit from ignorance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

 

/* code for tag simpli.fi */