Democrats want to remove Confederate statues from Capitol after George Floyd's death
Lawmakers say they want to take down the Confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol and donate them to the Smithsonian. As cities and states have started taking down their own Confederate statues after the death of George Floyd in police custody, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, plans to reintroduce legislation on Thursday to do the same on Capitol Hill, removing the roughly 10 statues associated with the Confederacy from the National Statuary Hall Collection.
A crowd gathered in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur to watch the removal of a Confederate monument -- the latest controversial symbol toppled in the wake of the George Floyd protests. © Brook Joyner/CNN A crane removes a confederate monument from Decatur square in Georgia on Friday, June 19.
A DeKalb County judge last week ordered the relocation of the 30-foot obelisk at Decatur Square after the city argued it'd become a threat to public safety during recent protests. He ordered it removed by midnight June 26 and placed in storage until further notice.
As a large crane pulled down the obelisk just before midnight Thursday, people chanted, "Take it down! Take it down!" Others applauded.
Trump's history of defending Confederate 'heritage' despite political risk: ANALYSIS
President Trump said he would "not even consider" renaming military bases named after Confederate generals but it's not the first time he's defended Confederate leaders.He called them "Monumental and very Powerful Bases [that] have become part of a Great American Heritage," even though the Pentagon had said it was open to discussing the move.
"The Confederate obelisk has become an increasingly frequent target of graffiti and vandalism, a figurative lightning rod for friction among citizens, and a potential catastrophe that could happen at any time if individuals attempt to forcibly remove or destroy it," Judge Clarence Seeliger said.
The point of the removal is not to prevent its public display but "instead is an appropriate measure to abate a public nuisance and protect the obelisk," he added.
Floyd's death during an arrest by a White police officer ignited protests against racism and police brutality. The 46-year-old Black man died on May 25 in Minneapolis in an incident captured on video.
Protesters in some cases and city leaders in others have taken down contentious statues, which some people say mark history and honor heritage while others argue they are racist symbols of America's dark legacy of slavery. While some cities have made efforts to remove them, others have passed laws to protect them.
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Just this month alone, a series of statues have been removed, including Christopher Columbus, another controversial figure in US history. Some Christopher Columbus statues have been tampered with -- one thrown into a lake, one beheaded, and another pulled to the ground.
Others statues removed this month include:
Virginia: A Confederate monument in downtown Norfolk and a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond.
Kentucky: In Louisville, the John Breckenridge Castleman monument, which is a statue of a Confederate soldier in the heart of downtown.
Florida: Crews in downtown Jacksonville took down a 122-year-old statue and plaque that honored fallen Confederate soldiers. Mayor Lenny Curry also announced that all Confederate monuments citywide will be removed. This includes three monuments and eight historical markers. "If our history prevents us from reaching the full potential of our future, then we need to take action," Curry said.
Mississippi faces reckoning on Confederate emblem in flag
The young activists who launched a protest movement after George Floyd’s death are bringing fresh energy to a long-simmering debate about the Confederate battle emblem that white supremacists embedded within the Mississippi state flag more than 125 years ago. Anti-racism protests have toppled Confederate statues and monuments across the United States in recent days, and even NASCAR banned the display of the rebel flag. But Mississippi has been a holdout for years in displaying the emblem in the upper-left corner of its banner.
Tennessee: In Nashville, a controversial statue of Edward Carmack, a former US senator and newspaper owner known for attacking civil rights advocates like Ida B. Wells, was carried away from the city's Capitol grounds.
Other states removed controversial statues last month, including a 115-year-old monument yanked down during a protest in Birmingham, Alabama.
A crane removes a Confederate monument from Decatur Square in Georgia on Thursday night.
The statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis is splattered with paint after it was toppled June 10 in Richmond, Va.
State troopers surround the statue of Christopher Columbus after it was toppled in front of the Minnesota State Capitol on June 10.
Rayshard Brooks struggled in system but didn't hide his past .
ATLANTA (AP) — Rayshard Brooks didn’t hide his history. About five months before he was killed by Atlanta police in a Wendy’s parking lot — before his name and case would become the latest rallying point in a massive call for racial justice and equality nationwide — Brooks gave an interview to an advocacy group about his years of struggle in the criminal justice system. He described an agonizing cycle of job rejection and public shame over his record and association with a system that takes millions of Americans, many of them Black like him, away from their families and treats them more like animals than individuals.