City of Anniston removes confederate monument
Anniston, Ala. - City workers in Anniston removed a confederate obelisk Monday morning located in the median of Quintard Ave. The 115-year-old statute, dedicated to John Pelham, was removed within 20 minutes shortly after midnight. Anniston Star reporter Tim Lockette tweeted a video of it being removed. The statue will be sent to the Calhoun County Confederate Memorial in Janney Furnace Park, reported the Anniston Star.
Calls to remove Confederate symbols across the nation have heightened since the killing of George Floyd-an unarmed Black man killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin-and the subsequent protests throughout the summer.
In Alabama, the Memorial Preservation Act passed in 2017 protects memorials, monuments, and buildings at least 40 years old, including Confederate monuments.
Our 360 News reported earlier this month state Republicans and Democrats legislators are considering changing the law, which fines any city or organization $25,000 if a statute is modified or removed. The state legislature will return to its regular session in February 2021 unless called earlier into a special session by Governor Ivey.
Anniston's city council voted 4-to-1 in August to remove the statute. The dissenting vote came from Ben Little, one of two Black city councilors, who questioned if it was legal to "knowingly and willfully violate a law." The city council also agreed to pay the anticipated $25,000 fine in accordance with the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. No lawsuits against the city have been filed by the state Attorney General.
The move comes as cities and college campuses throughout the state grapple with next steps addressing the confederate memorials and monuments, including Jacksonville, Florence, and Madison County. Updates are expected in the upcoming weeks.