City officials removing Confederate monument from Birmingham park

Officials removing Confederate monument from Alabama park

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Workers began removing a Confederate monument that has stood in an Alabama park for 115 years after protesters damaged it Sunday night, Birmingham officials said.

The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument has stood in Birmingham’s Linn Park since 1905, but Mayor Randall Woodfin ordered it removed Monday in defiance of the Alabama Monuments Preservation Act, The New York Times reported.

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Removing the statue leaves the city open to a $25,000 fine, but Woodfin said the cost of the fine outweighed the civil unrest in the city, WBRC reported.

“In order to prevent more civil unrest, it is very imperative that we remove this statue,” Woodfin told AL.com. “I understand the AG’s office can bring a civil suit against the city, and if there’s a judgment rendered from a judge then we should be held accountable, and I am willing to accept that because that is a lower cost than civil unrest in our city.”

A large crane arrived just after 10 p.m. Monday night and removed the top section of the obelisk, AL.com reported. The second section was removed an hour later followed by a smaller one, the website reported.

The base proved more difficult to remove, and crews were expected to return Tuesday to finish the job, AL.com reported. The cornerstone contains a Bible, a Confederate flag and Birmingham newspapers.

The monument was being dismantled on the 212th anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederacy. Davis’ birthday is still recognized as a state holiday in Alabama.

In Linn Park on Sunday, protesters targeted the sandstone statue, spray-painting and chipping at its base, the Times reported.

Woodfin said he would like to offer the 52-foot statue to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which originally donated the obelisk to the city, or move it to a museum or a place where it would be safe, WBRC reported.

A man walks past the toppled statue of Charles Linn, who was in the Confederate Navy, in Birmingham's Linn Park, on Monday. A Confederate statue was being removed from Linn Park after unrest in the city Sunday night.
A man walks past the toppled statue of Charles Linn, who was in the Confederate Navy, in Birmingham's Linn Park, on Monday. A Confederate statue was being removed from Linn Park after unrest in the city Sunday night. (Jay Reeves/Associated Press)