Confederate Monuments Are Coming Down With No End In Sight

Over the past three weeks we have seen the most sustained push to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces in recent history. We will likely see additional removals throughout the summer. While all eyes are on Richmond and Charlottesville, a host of smaller towns across the country have begun the process to remove their Confederate statuary. Here is what I believe to be a complete list as of June 21.

Interpreting the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia (2018)

Twenty-eight Confederate monuments/memorials have been removed/relocated since June 1.

Removed [R indicates Removed by Protesters]

I am maintaining an updated list of removals here.

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my latest book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Order your copy today.

19 comments… add one
  • Sean Dail Jul 2, 2020 @ 18:32

    Oh, for goodness’ sake, Kevin – blogs are monuments to the bloggers’ opinions. You know you can’t resist. 😀

    But I was kind of looking for an explanation as to why no amount of service to the human race is enough to overcome a few years of service to the Confederacy, and I’m wondering whether you’d defend Mark Twain’s statue in Hannibal if it suddenly came under scrutiny.

    I’ve always been in favor of context for these Confederate statues. And even better, I think we need statues to the USCTs all across the country to remind African-Americans that they had a hand in fighting for their own freedom. But that’s never going to happen if historians don’t start speaking out against all the random destruction and removal of existing monuments – which, by the way, is being accomplished under cover of a pandemic, making it even more distasteful.

    Just my two cents. I continue to enjoy your blog.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 3, 2020 @ 1:11

      I don’t know anything about the Twain statue in Hannibal. I tend to think that if you attempted to destroy the United States you don’t deserve a statue.

      But that’s never going to happen if historians don’t start speaking out against all the random destruction and removal of existing monuments…

      Why do you assume that historians must speak out one way or the other. I am also a resident of a community. Here in Boston we had a debate about the Freedman’s Memorial. The Boston Arts Commission recently voted unanimously to relocate it. I listened to a good deal of testimony, including a young mother who has to walk by it every day and field questions from her son who wants to know why there is a man who looks like his daddy that is kneeling in front of a white man.

      I completely understand why this memorial is being relocated. Why do we assume that monuments are timeless?

  • Sean Dail Jul 2, 2020 @ 11:44

    I probably shouldn’t even ask this, Kevin. But do you really approve of the removal of the Matthew Fontaine Maury monument?

    • Kevin Levin Jul 2, 2020 @ 11:52

      Hi Sean,

      I am not sure why my opinion really matters, but if you must know, I probably won’t lose much sleep over it.

    • Andy Hall Jul 2, 2020 @ 18:03

      As someone with a maritime focus, I was familiar with Maury’s work and viewed him as being distinct from Lee, Davis, Stuart, and Jackson on that account. But digging deeper, Maury is a very troublesome figure in his own right, entirely apart from his service in a Confederate uniform.

  • London John Jun 21, 2020 @ 23:06

    If Grant’s statue in SF was really pulled down, the neo-Confederates who rallied round statues of Lee etc must be laughing.

    • Terry Jun 22, 2020 @ 6:08

      According to San Francisco’s Mercury News “SAN FRANCISCO – Protesters in Golden Gate Park toppled statues of Fr. Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key and President Ulysses S. Grant on Friday night, spurring a national debate over the complex legacies of those historical figures amid a broader movement to remove what critics say are monuments to white supremacy.”

  • Terry Jun 21, 2020 @ 12:29

    While many seem to be experiencing jubilation over the removal of Confederate monuments, accepting the alleged narrative of what the Confederate Monuments stood for, we’ve seen increased violence, property destruction and lives needlessly endangered, including that of an individual who is now is on life support.

    It would appear the Confederate Memorials were merely the low hanging fruit, whetting the appetite of those intent on destruction. Ironically, those individuals who were once influenced by the anti-Confederate rhetoric are now seemingly enjoying the destruction and vandalism of all monuments including Lincoln, Grant, Robert Gould Shaw & 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, Columbus, Spanish Priests, Vietnam Veterans, WW II Veterans Military. Where will it stop? There is a current effort to remove the statue of General Custer, and I predict the Buffalo Soldier Monuments will also be targeted for warring against native Americans.

    History is complicated and it seems everyone is offended by everyone else. Soon, we may not need to study history so as not to offend one point of view or another. George Orwell was spot on when he wrote 1984 “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day be day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right.”

    • Kevin Levin Jun 21, 2020 @ 12:46

      History is complicated and it seems everyone is offended by everyone else. Soon, we may not need to study history so as not to offend one point of view or another.

      You are confusing the study of history with the purpose of monuments and statues which is to commemorate and celebrate.

    • cagraham Jun 21, 2020 @ 18:18

      “It would appear the Confederate Memorials were merely the low hanging fruit, whetting the appetite of those intent on destruction.”

      Man, Terry, I just got back from picking up a truck load of bagged trash from MDP (Lee) Circle in Richmond and the scene was just as chill as can be. But right now the Richmond Police are attacking demonstrators with teargas and flash-bangs, starting at Stuart and moving toward Lee. Its is extremely clear whose appetite for destruction has been whetted.

      • Kevin Levin Jun 22, 2020 @ 1:03

        Thanks for responding, Chris.

      • Terry Jun 22, 2020 @ 5:59

        Chris, so if you are now back from Lee Circle…..and when you were there the scene was chill….I’m confused as to your comments about the Richmond Police currently attacking the demonstrators. Can you expand on your comments and the basis of your conclusions about the “police attacking demonstrators with teargas and flash-bangs, starting at Stuart and moving toward Lee”? How do you know?

    • Msb Jun 22, 2020 @ 11:47

      It would be just wonderful if toppling statues of Davis and Lee (monuments) really erased all the harm that they did (history). But it doesn’t – just like all the harm done by, say, Saddam Hussein, sStalin and the Nazis remains to be learned from after their monuments were toppled or blown up. We must just learn from history and raise monuments that are welcome to as much of the community as possible, rather than monuments designed to celebrate some groups’ exclusion.

  • Reggie Bartlett Jun 21, 2020 @ 8:09

    As if you’d think Levin would have any moral consistency. Seeing as how Washington, Jefferson, Onate and Columbus have been ripped down in places too.

    • Kevin Levin Jun 21, 2020 @ 8:18

      It’ll be OK, Reggie. We’ll get through this. I promise you. LOL

  • paineite Jun 21, 2020 @ 7:32

    And now a bust or statue of Grant in SF. Didn’t you write something on his connection to (wasn’t it?) his wife’s slaves ?

    I’m all FOR taking down Confederate monuments … but Grant is a bridge too far for me. Thought I’d look into seeing if there is anyone looking to reinstall it.

    Ken

    • Kevin Levin Jun 21, 2020 @ 7:36

      Grant inherited a slave that he freed before the Civil War.

    • Andy Hall Jun 21, 2020 @ 8:08

      Ken, there’s a lot of indiscriminate targeting going on right now. What we’re seeing right now is decades of resentment and anger over a range of issues, that have burst like a dam — the killing of George Floyd was the final crack in that dam. What we’ve seen over the last three weeks is that resulting deluge now rushing forward, that tends to sweep everything before it, whether there’s a good reason or not.

    • Terry Jun 25, 2020 @ 3:41

      But wait …..there’s more!

      Yes, Grant at one time owned a slave, relied on slave labor to build Hardscrabble and was regularly visited during the war by his wife Julia and her “servants”, much to President Lincon’s chagrin. Obviously, the Union Commanding General’s acceptance of his wife relying on slave labor was not helping to advance Lincoln’s narrative.

      However, the latest monument destruction occurred in Madison, Wisconsin where criminals tore down the monument to Col. Hans Christian Heg, decapitated the monument’s head and dragged it and tossed it into Lake Monona.

      Heg was an outspoken abolitionist, commanded the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment(US) during the Civil War and died of wounds he sustained at the Battle of Chickamauga.

      It is becoming increasingly more apparent that the that the phenomena of destruction we are witnessing has no bounds.

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