New Orleans removes statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Updated May 11, 2017 at 8:17 AM
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May 11 (UPI) -- New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday said workers removed a statue of Confederate icon Jefferson Davis from Mid-City as part of a "march to reconciliation."

Landrieu said the city began removing statues erected to honor the Confederacy in late April. In December, the New Orleans City Council declared four monuments nuisances and the Jefferson Davis statue commemorating the former Confederate president is the second to be removed.

"This morning we continue our march to reconciliation by removing the Jefferson Davis Confederate statue from its pedestal of reverence," Landrieu said in a statement on Thursday. "This historic moment is an opportunity to join together as one city and redefine our future."

The city removed the Battle of Liberty Place monument three weeks ago, which was erected by a white supremacist group to commemorate a deadly insurrection against New Orleans' racially integrated police department and government in 1874.

Statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who commanded the Confederacy during the Civil War, and of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard will be the next removed, The Times-Picayune reported.

"Three weeks ago, we began a challenging but long overdue process of removing four statues that honor the 'Lost Cause of the Confederacy.' Today we continue the mission," Landrieu said in a statement. "These monuments have stood not as historic or educational markers of our legacy of slavery and segregation, but in celebration of it. I believe we must remember all of our history, but we need not revere it. To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in some of our most prominent public places is not only an inaccurate reflection of our past, it is an affront to our present, and a bad prescription for our future. We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past."

The removal of the statues has been a contentious topic in New Orleans, as groups for and against the move have taken to the streets in protest.

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