Alabama city takes step to move Confederate monument

FLORENCE, Ala. — An Alabama city has taken a step toward removing a Confederate monument following weeks of pressure.

The Florence City Council voted Tuesday to ask the state for permission to move the memorial from outside the Lauderdale County Courthouse, WHNT-TV reported. Other places have sought similar state waivers, which are required because of a law that imposes a $25,000 fine for disturbing such memorials.

The city also asked county commissioners to relocate the monument as soon as possible.

All council members and the mayor have publicly supported removing the monument, but they don’t expect to receive approval from the state.

“We don’t anticipate a response, but it’s the last step we can take,” council member Michelle Eubanks said, according to the TimesDaily.

Mayor Steve Holt has said the city has a commitment from local business owners to pay the fine and cost of moving it.

Dedicated in 1903 during a ceremony that included an overtly racist speech, the memorial was erected by Confederate descendants. It went up when many whites were advocating the “lost cause” version of history that played down slavery as a cause for the Civil War and emphasized the nobility of Confederate fighters.

Demonstrators organized by a racial justice group, Project Say Something, have been protesting the monument for weeks during a national reckoning over race that followed the death of George Floyd in Minnesota while he was in police custody.

The monument, which features a Confederate statue atop a stone pedestal, would be moved to the Florence City Cemetery.