With the recent uprising in protests and riots, this year we have seen dozens of National Confederate monuments forcibly removed as people stand out against these symbols of division. This isn’t the first year that Confederate statues have been removed by the outraged American people. In 2020 alone, we have seen 52 Confederate statues removed. With over 100 statues having been removed prior to 2020, it is easy to think that we are well on our way to seeing these reminders removed from public view and the division around their existence put to rest. The opinion about these historical art pieces is just as divided as every other political subject. Many people are ready to see the past sins of America no longer glorified by these metal portraits of leaders that stood against the equality of all Americans. Others feel strongly that demolishing these monuments destroys a piece of artistic culture and history giving way to generations of the future forgetting the past.
Despite the growing number of toppled and destroyed statues in 2020, we haven’t exceeded the most statues removed in one year yet. The Charlottesville church shooting by a white supremacist in 2017 holds the record for statues removed at 55. A study posted recently to BeenVerified shows that the vast majority of Confederate statues still stand. A mind blowing 1,700 statues across the United States still represent a past message of degradation and hopelessness. Where are these statues located? Virginia and Texas top the list for having more statues at more than 400 combined, while other states like Florida come in 3rd, and the rest of the states with less than 50 statues each.
Since their creation, we have seen 190 Confederate statues removed, but with so many still standing, it begs the question as to the message America is sending to its people and the world. Do we allow these art relics that seek to celebrate a time in our past that the vast majority of American’s doe not take pride in to remain, or do we keep these artistic representations of history passed as a reminder of our country’s past mistakes? The decision is unclear, so we will continue to wait for leadership to step in with solutions on moving forward from our past to build on a future that looks equal for everyone.
*Image Credit Virginia Bridges / The Herald-Sun, via AP