Posted on March 13, 2020

Senate Debates Increased Confederate Monument Protections

Kim Chandler, Tuscaloosa News, March 11, 2020

The Alabama Senate on Tuesday delayed a vote on increased protections for Confederate monuments after an African American lawmaker threatened a filibuster and said the memorials celebrate a time when African Americans were enslaved and lynched.

Senators began debate on a bill that would increase the penalties for violating the 2017 Alabama Memorial Preservation Act from a flat $25,000 to $5,000 per day. State Sen. Rodger Smitherman, an African American legislator from Birmingham, brought a thick rope on to the floor of the Alabama Senate, as he said the monuments commemorate a time of racial terror, including lynching, for African Africans.


The debate comes as Alabama’s largest city faces a fine for blocking the view of a Confederate monument that stands in a city park. A judge has fined Birmingham $25,000 for erecting a wooden box obscuring the inscriptions on a 52-foot (16-meter) obelisk honoring Confederate veterans.

The 2017 Alabama Memorial Preservation Act currently prohibits relocating, removing, altering or renaming public buildings, streets and memorials that have been standing for more than 40 years. {snip}