MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Legislature took the final steps to pass Senate Bill 60 on Friday, which will make it significantly harder to remove historical monuments from government property. The so-called Alabama Memorial Preservation Act will protect monuments 50 years and older by prohibiting their relocation or removal, while the alteration of monuments less than 50 years old will require the permission of a permanent joint committee on Alabama Monument Protection.
Over the past month, the City of New Orleans, Louisiana has 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.”
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), said the events in Louisiana prove exactly why such legislation is needed in the Yellowhammer state. “Unfortunately, in cities like New Orleans we are seeing a wave of political correctness wipe out monuments to historically significant, if often flawed, people,” Allen said. “Where does it end? Are all parts of American history subject to purging, until every Ivy League professor is satisfied and the American story has been re-written as nothing but a complete fraud and a betrayal of our founding values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?”
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.
“Let’s stop this absurd destruction of monuments that offend the tender sensibilities of any person, anywhere, and preserve our history – the good and the bad – for our children and grandchildren to learn from,” Allen said.
The bill now heads to Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R-Ala.) desk for her signature to become law.