Posted on December 24, 2020

Edward Douglass White Statue Removed from Steps of Louisiana Supreme Court

Bryn Stole,, December 23, 2020

The bronze statue of Edward Douglass White Jr., until recently the only Louisianan ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court but one who fought for the Confederacy and upheld racial segregation laws, disappeared Wednesday from its pedestal on the steps of the state Supreme Court building in New Orleans.

Workers are moving the larger-than-life statue inside the French Quarter building, to a new location near the state Supreme Court’s museum, a court spokesperson said. The move caps years of growing calls from activists, protesters and some politicians to scrap or move the monument.

White, a Louisiana native who died in 1921, fought as a teenager for the South in the Civil War and afterward took part in the Battle of Liberty Place, an armed White supremacist uprising that in 1874 briefly wrested control of New Orleans from the Reconstruction-era government. His tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court, from 1894 until his death, saw him vote in the majority in Plessy v. Ferguson and several other infamous decisions upholding Jim Crow racial segregation and stripping Black Americans of civil rights.


Protesters have for years targeted White’s statue outside the Supreme Court in the French Quarter for removal, including during large demonstrations in June. The statue and the front steps to the court have been surrounded by security fences ever since.

In August, most of the City Council asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to remove the statue, calling its prominent placement in front of the state’s highest court an affront to the idea of equality before the law. {snip}


“We’re happy to see that it’s no longer in public view but also disappointed they would have the temerity to put it inside to try to satisfy those who want to celebrate its White supremacist history,” said Malcolm Suber, one of the leaders of the activist group Take ‘Em Down NOLA. “We don’t think he should be honored in any kind of way, so we will continue our fight.”

The statue’s move comes as New Orleans officials press forward with plans to rename streets and other civic spaces that currently bear the names of Confederates and other White supremacists.