African-American leaders in Arizona are the next to call for the swift removal of the state’s Confederate monuments, joining an overall cry across the nation by those who know that the monuments celebrate slavery and racism and, generally, just the wrong side of history.
The battle against Confederate symbols and memorials was brought to the forefront of national conversation almost exactly two years ago when white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black parishioners and injured several others in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.
As The (Arizona) Republic notes, several statues and monuments across the nation have been subject to vandalism and been the center of intense protests that sometimes break out into fights. The contractors who have been charged with removing some of the monuments have gone so far as to cover up identifying information on equipment to protect employees, the news site notes.
In Arizona, black leaders and officials on Monday intend to make their formal request that the state’s six Confederate monuments be removed. The most public memorial is actually located across from the state Capitol. There is also the matter of a small highway southeast of Apache Junction that is named after Jefferson Davis, who was the first and only president of the Confederacy, a monument that state Rep. Reginald Bolding unsuccessfully attempted to rename.
“[We will] discuss the meaning of Confederate monuments, how they impact the community and why Gov. [Doug] Ducey should immediately begin the process of removal,” the leaders said in a statement.
According to the report, Patrick Ptak, a spokesperson for Ducey, said that the governor’s office started looking into the process of a memorial removal or a name change “a week or two ago” as rumblings began to stir.
Ptak added that the news conference is directed at the wrong official, saying that the matter of the memorials “really fall under the jurisdiction of other entities,” according to the report.
Curt Tipton, an adjutant with Arizona’s Sons of Confederate Veterans, blasted the call for the removals, saying that to do so “because somebody is offended is ridiculous.”
“We will fight any removal attempts,” Tipton told The Republic (because of course, they will).
As The Republic notes, the Confederacy claimed the lower half of what is now Arizona before it became a U.S. state. More than 300 Confederate soldiers are estimated to be buried there.
Read more at USA Today.