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by Ben Mathis-Lilley
After nine black Americans were murdered at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, last June by a white supremacist, a number of states removed the Confederate flag or images thereof from official display. Many official tributes to the Confederacy persist, though, and Monday government offices in Alabama and Mississippi are closed as those states celebrate “Confederate Memorial Day.” Several other Southern states hold the same celebration on different dates; state offices in Georgia are closed Monday as well, but per an order signed last year by Gov. Nathan Deal the occasion is now only identified in generic terms as a “State Holiday.”
A new Southern Poverty Law Center report identifies “at least 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy” — monuments, statues, schools named after Jefferson Davis, etc. — in public spaces across the country. Contra the common argument that Confederate tributes are a celebration of ‘heritage’ rather than white supremacy, the SPLC’s press release notes that “the creation of Confederate displays spiked at the beginning of the Jim Crow era and again in response to the civil rights movement.”
Of particular note: 10 United States military bases are named after Confederates, including a fort named after a general named John Brown Gordon who is believed to have gone on to lead the Georgia KKK. Heritage, not hate!