The south of the United States started on Wednesday to turn the page on the legacy of the confederation by removing some symbols of the supporters of slavery during the american Civil war, pushed by a wave of protests historic racism in the country.
The city of Richmond, Virginia, has dismantled a first monument in memory of the confederate army installed in the former capital of the south during the civil war (1861-1865).
Further south, the Mississippi river has removed the flag symbol confederate of his capitol, a historic moment for this Condition marked by the wounds of the period of slavery.
It was the last flag of an american State with the flag – red background, blue cross blue diagonal with white stars representing the States southerners.
In Richmond, the many monuments to confederates are seen by critics as a symbol of the glory of the legacy of slavery in the United States, at a time when the country is the theatre of a movement of anger history against racism after the death in recent months of several African Americans at the hands of white police officers.
The most symbolic is the statue of the commander-in-chief of the army of the south, general Robert Lee, a throne for a century on a place of the city.
Municipal employees were active as of Wednesday after-noon around the statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, another general of the army of the south. The statue was déboulonnée then descended from its pedestal with the help of a crane, according to local media.
The mayor, Levar Stoney, justified its decision by the need to “turn the page” from the past to the city.
“Since the official end of the status of capital of the confederation, there are 155 years, we are under the weight of that legacy”, he explained in a video message on Twitter.
“These statues, although symbolic, have placed a shadow on the dreams of our children of color. By removing them, we can begin to heal and focus our attention on the future,” said the municipal official, an African-American 39-year-old.
“The removal of these monuments is not a solution to [adjust] the racial injustices that are deeply rooted in our city and our country”, he, however, admitted.
He also cited a need for “public health” in the midst of a pandemic of sars coronavirus, whereas the opponents of these statues gather “for 33 consecutive days” to request their withdrawal.
In march, the democratic governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, had announced that the municipalities could decide the withdrawal or not of their statues.
Their fate remains undetermined. They will be stored until a final solution is found, said Mr Stoney.
The protests against racism and police violence follow each other for more than a month after the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis on may 25.
They have also re-ignited the sensitive debate on the legacy of the past slavery of the country, symbolized by these monuments that protesters have vandalized and attempted to put to earth a little everywhere on the territory, notably in Richmond.
For the advocates of these statues, they are a symbol of the historical legacy of the southern United States. President Donald Trump has in the past felt that their disappearance would “dismantle” the history and american culture.
In Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, the flag that floated in front of the seat of government for 126 years has been lowered to the applause, during an official ceremony.
A republican majority, both chambers of the assembly had approved on Sunday the removal of this symbol was controversial, 19 years after they have voted overwhelmingly for its retention.
“Today, we accept our past and we look to the future,” said the republican chairman of the House Philip Gunn.
“This flag was flown on our best and our worst moments” and for some, “it has placed a shadow over their struggle to become free”,-he added.
Senator black John Horne said that the events after the death of George Floyd had “an extraordinary impact” on this historic decision.