Watch: New Orleans Mayor’s Speech on Confederate Monuments That’s Going Viral


Last week, the City of New Orleans removed a 16-foot statue of General Robert E. Lee from the center of Lee Circle. This was the last of four Confederate monuments that were taken down in the city after the city council had declared them to be a public nuisance. The removal of the statues and monuments led to divisive political debate and heated exchanges at the sites, and even some arrests.

In an address that has since gone viral, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu highlighted that these monuments weren’t innocent commemorations of a bygone era. Instead, these were erected as part of a movement known as The Cult of the Lost Cause as a way to rewrite history and make it that the Confederacy wasn’t on the wrong side.

From the speech:

It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America, They fought against it. They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots.

These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for.

After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city.

He also asked if anyone could imagine being an African-American mother or father looking their young daughter in her eyes and convincing her that Robert E. Lee should encourage or inspire them.

“Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story?” Landrieu asked. “Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?”

Watch the entire speech above, via Landrieu’s YouTube account.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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