Seems like one Alabama mayor wants to collect all the white supremacist last-place trophies, including those that have already been discarded by states that either know or are learning to do better. In this case, Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail claims he’s gotten nothing but a thumbs-up from his constituents after reaching out to New Orleans leaders offering to take the city’s now-banned Confederate monuments and display them proudly in his city.
“Everybody who’s approached me has said they think it’s a great idea, and it seems like I haven’t offended anybody—which is never the goal,” Nail told the Cullman Times.
Of course, of course, Nail even has a black friend who approves and offered to chip in to help move the monuments—which, you know, celebrate slavery, racism and generally the wrong side of history—to their dear old town.
“One of my good friends, who is black, even messaged me on Facebook and told me, ‘Look, some of my ancestors were forced to fight in [the Civil War], and I think it’s a good idea to remember these things,’” Nail claimed. “He told me, ‘I drive a truck, and I’ll even go down there and pick them up if the city needs me to.’”
Anyway, the Times reports that Nail recently sent a letter to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu asking about the four statues that were recently removed in light of protests and, you know, general acknowledgment about what the men they depict stood for.
It was previously reported that the four monuments—an obelisk honoring the militia known as the White League, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and a statue of Robert E. Lee—would have been stored in an undisclosed location.
The removal of the monuments in the wake of a 2015 City Council vote to censor the images was not without contention and was met with protests.
Nonetheless, down they came, and now Nail wants them. In his letter to Landrieu he wrote: “We have located in our city a Veterans Memorial Park that honors all Veterans and all struggles. We would put these monuments on display there. They would be safely protected and enjoyed by all people who visit the park.We would truly consider it an honor and a blessing for you to kindly make allowance for our humble request.”
“I sent the letter to see what they might do,” he told the Times. “I don’t know if they’re going to sell them, give them away or something else. Honestly, we’re a small town, and if they end up selling them off for a lot of money, of course we couldn’t do that. If they do give them away, then I would approach the [Hanceville] City Council to see how they want to proceed.”
Of course, Nail is of the school that says it’s about “heritage,” not “hate.”
“What I told the mayor, and what I’ve told everyone I’ve talked about it with, is that for me, remembering these people and these events is about heritage—not hate,” he said.
Ask certain folks to talk about slavery, though, or police brutality and they froth at the mouth. So I guess only some events and people should be remembered.
Anyway, Nail went on to say: “Anybody who knows me knows that I’m no racist. But ultimately, it will be up to the folks in New Orleans—and up to the people who live in Hanceville, and the Hanceville City Council—to decide what—if anything—happens next.
“My view is that it’s an opportunity, a great teaching tool that we could have in our city,” he added. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to reflect on all our struggles, and to celebrate how far we’ve come—while clearly acknowledging that we had those struggles. Different symbols mean different things to different people. We definitely don’t need to forget or be blind to history, which I think some well-meaning folks in our society are kind of pushing for, intentionally or unintentionally.”
Nail, admittedly, is not the only Alabamian in government working hard to keep the Confederacy alive. Back in May, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation designed to prevent cities and counties from removing Confederate monuments from public property, “preserving” at least nine Confederate monuments around Alabama.
Read more at the Cullman Times.