HANCEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — After the demonstrations over the weekend in Charlottesville, when white supremacists, members of the KKK, and neo-Nazi organizations protested the removal of some Confederate monuments in a local park, the conversation is heating back up over the place of those monuments in public spaces.
Back in June, Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail penned a letter to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who had just ordered the removal of several statues commemorating Confederate figures.
“Well, to me, those monuments, they’re history, and we can’t forget our history. You know, it’s about heritage. It’s not about hate,” said Nail.
Nail asked the City of New Orleans to donate the monuments to Hanceville. He said he planned to put them in a local park. His letter gained international attention. Nail says he has yet to hear back from New Orleans or Landrieu on his request.
“I think textbook 101, just a little common courtesy would be in line here. I think if another city had a request for us, we would give them some kind of notice. That’s exactly what we would do,” Nail said.
However, other mayors, like Birmingham’s William Bell, say it’s difficult to disentangle the history of the monuments with the slavery of the Civil War era. Bell called a law passed by the Alabama legislature, prohibiting the removal of Confederate monuments, “out of order.”
“That’s not to say that one can’t stand up for their southern heritage, per se, but you can’t ask a community to use public dollars and to use public space to perpetuate the belief that a racially divided society was the greatest society,” Bell said.
We reached out to New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s office, who told us the city is in the process of opening a competitive bidding proposal, where they will try to find a more appropriate home for the Confederate monuments.