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Southern Poverty Law Center targets Alabama schools named after Confederate leaders

The Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which was founded as an organization promoting social justice and racial equality, has of late taken on a progressive agenda which has made Alabama the target of the nonprofit’s attacks. Its latest campaign has taken aim at Alabama public schools which hold the names of former Confederate leaders.

The SPLC has identified 22 schools throughout the state of Alabama that are named after historical figures who served the Confederacy in political and military capacities. The organization is calling upon the schools to change the names.

Lecia Brooks, SPLC chief of staff, equated the schools holding historical names relating to the Confederacy to promoting “Lost Cause” of the civil war.

“School districts that continue supporting the Confederacy must reexamine the message being conveyed to students, staff and the communities they serve who are directly affected by the pain and oppression these names and images represent,” said Brooks. “Further, educators can’t seriously be expected to teach students that being openly racist is wrong or be expected to learn in buildings branded for proslavery men who proudly dehumanized human beings for personal and economic gain.”

Brooks added, “There is a real difference between acknowledging factual, historical events and promoting the false Lost Cause narrative. Today, we once again call on the 21 schools that committed to changing their names within the last year to do what they said they were going to do.”

This recent campaign undertaken by the SPLC comes after the organization has in recent years set their sights on numerous issues relating to Alabama’s elected officials and its laws.

The organization has long stood in opposition to the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, which it says is “about protecting Confederate monuments that celebrate white supremacy.” The SPLC in 2019 accused the state of employing practices which it says were used to discourage minorities from participating in Alabama’s elections, a narrative which Secretary of State John Merrill fiercely objected to.

Earlier this year, the SPLC called for an investigation into Attorney General Steve Marshall, saying that “the Alabama people – and the American public at large about the outcome of the 2020 election and his role in the failed yet deadly coup,” referring to the alleged Republican Attorneys General Association’s alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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