COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — Workers are in the process of moving a Confederate monument in northeast Mississippi.
Crews spent part of the weekend taking down the monument outside the Lowndes County Courthouse, news outlets reported. It includes statues of three soldiers, and has been there since 1912.
Lowndes County supervisors voted last summer to move the Confederate soldier statue away from the courthouse after protesters said it glorified slavery. The vote happened as protests against racial injustice were happening across the U.S. after the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody.
“We’ve looked around the nation and people are wanting to remove symbols of hatred and discrimination. And so it’s not different here. For a number of people, it just didn’t represent the same value system,” Lowndes County Supervisor Leroy Brooks recently told WCBI-TV.
The monument will be put up near the graves of unidentified Confederate soldiers in Friendship Cemetery in Columbus. Officials have said the work, start to finish, could take weeks.
In November, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History approved the plan to move the 32-foot (9.75-meter) monument.
Excavation started in April near the graves of unidentified Confederate soldiers the cemetery, the Commercial Dispatch reported. Workers at the cemetery site built a concrete slab for the monument.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says about 780 Confederate monuments and statues stand on public property in the United States, and at least 50 are in Mississippi. Many of the monuments were put up in the early 20th Century, as groups such as United Daughters of the Confederacy pushed a “Lost Cause” narrative that minimized slavery as a central cause of the Civil War.