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Violence broke out on Saturday at a white nationalist rally protesting the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville. One woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed and more than 19 others were injured when a Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters. The statue has yet to be removed.
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In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh on Monday ordered the removal of four Confederate statues from public spaces in the city. Contractors, protected by police and overseen by the mayor, worked overnight on Wednesday to remove the statues. "It’s done,” Pugh said early Wednesday, according to Mother Jones. "They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could." Residents were seen celebrating as the monuments were removed. One statue, of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, was spray-painted with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” The three other statues that were removed included the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument; a statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision saying even free African-Americans could not be citizens; and the Confederate Women's Monument.
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A monument to fallen Confederate soldiers was removed from downtown Gainesville on Monday. The statue, nicknamed "Old Joe" by locals, had stood next to an Alachua County building for 113 years. A local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy paid for the removal, which happened without any protest, according to The Gainsville Sun. The statue was relocated to a nearby cemetary.
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In May, onlookers cheered as a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from the top of a monument in New Orleans, a city where 60 percent of the residents are African-American. It was the fourth Civil War-era landmark the city had removed since late April, CNN reported. The other landmarks included a monument honoring a white supremacist attack on the city's integrated police force; a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis; and a statue of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, NPR reported. Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a speech explaining the statues' removal, saying: "To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our more prominent places -- in honor -- is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, is an affront to our present and it is a bad prescription for our future."
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called for the removal of a statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision, from the statehouse grounds in Annapolis. A key state panel voted Wednesday to remove the statue, The Baltimore Sun reported. It's unclear when the statue will be removed, or what will happen to it afterward.
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The president of the Jacksonville City Council, Anna Lopez Brosche, on Monday called for the removal of all Confederate monuments from city property. “In response to the horrific and unacceptable incidents that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, I am asking that the city … conduct an inventory of all Confederate monuments, memorials, and markers on public property,” she wrote in a news release, according to jacksonville.com.
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On Tuesday, the City Council in Lexington, Kentucky, unanimously approved a proposal to remove two Confederate statues from the city's courthouse, KTLA 5 reported. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said he accelerated plans to push for the statues' removal due to "the tragic events in Charlottesville."
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On Wednesday, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tweeted that he plans to introduce a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol building. The Capitol houses nine statues commemorating Confederate figures, including Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and John C. Calhoun. The Congressional Black Caucus also proposed removing the statues from the Capitol building, with chairman and Rep. Cedric Richmond saying: “We will never solve America’s race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States in order to keep African Americans in chains. By the way, thank god, they lost." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also called for the statues' removal on Thurdsday, asking House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans to support the effort. “The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible,” Pelosi said in a statement posted on Twitter. "If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.”
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DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA
On Monday, protesters toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier in front of the Durham County Courthouse in Durham, North Carolina. Four activists were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, three more activists turned themselves in at the Durham County magistrate’s office in connection with the statue's removal, The News & Observer reported. About 100 activists gathered outside the courthouse and the jail on Thursday to support those turning themselves in.
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The great-great-grandsons of Stonewall Jackson wrote an open letter calling for the removal of a statue honoring the confederate general in Richmond, Virginia, as well as the removal of all Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. "They are overt symbols of racism and white supremacy, and the time is long overdue for them to depart from public display. Overnight, Baltimore has seen fit to take this action. Richmond should, too," the two men—William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian— wrote in a letter to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and the Monument Avenue Commission. The mayor announced Wednesday that he has ordered the commission to immediately begin discussion about the removal and relocation of the statues, according to WTVR.
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Four Confederate statues were quietly removed from the Main Mall at the University of Texas at Austin overnight on Aug. 20, CNN reported. The university plans to relocate the monuments elsewhere on campus. University President Gregory Fenves said the removal of the statues was spurred by the "horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville." "These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism," he said.
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