MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill late last week that will make it significantly harder to remove historical monuments from government property. The so-called Alabama Memorial Preservation Act was approved by a vote of 72-29 after intense opposition from Democrats.
Democrats openly called the bill racist, but bill sponsor Rep. Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) says that the purpose of the bill is to protect architecturally significant structures, such as the state capitol building.
Last week, the City of New Orleans, Louisiana removed several confederate memorials from public grounds, leading to many protests and counter-protests at the sites. According to the mayor of New Orleans, the monuments were removed because they “failed to appropriately reflect the values of diversity and inclusion that make New Orleans strong today.”
Dozens of cities across the state of Alabama contain their own Confederate monuments that were constructed post-reconstruction. Montgomery, for instance, has the Monument to Confederate Soldiers and Sailors on the grounds of the State Capitol. Partially funded with state grants, the monument has stood since 1886, and the person who laid the cornerstone was none other than CSA President Jefferson Davis.
Montgomery is also home to numerous civil rights movement monuments including the Civil Rights Memorial, located on Washington Avenue. The granite display contains the names of 41 people who died during the fight for civil rights.