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Monumental Change? 6 Confederate Statues Are Being Torn Down in the Wake of George Floyd’s Killing

Anti-racist activists have long viewed the monuments as symbols of white supremacy. Now public officials are starting to agree.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue and Confederate monuments (Richmond, Virginia) Steve Helber/AP/Shutterstock

Thousands of demonstrators in all 50 states, and across the world, have hit the streets calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality in the two weeks since George Floyd’s death. It will most likely take years to understand the full societal impact of these mass protests, but we’re already seeing at least one tangible consequence. Confederate monuments that have been the subject of intense public debate for years now are being removed from city parks and plazas faster than ever before.

While their defenders claim these statues and plaques, most of which were built during the Jim Crow era of state-sanctioned black oppression, are symbols of Southern heritage, their detractors view them as monuments to white supremacy. But in the wake of Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police, along with the recent homicides of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of current or former police, it’s not just anti-racist activists calling for their dismantling, but also public officials in states like Virginia and Alabama, as well. And just as Black Lives Matter protests have spread globally, so have these same efforts, with demonstrators in Bristol, England, tearing down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston and throwing it into the city’s harbor over the weekend.

Although more will almost certainly follow, here are six Confederate monuments that have been torn down, marked for removal or vandalized since the Floyd protests began.

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