The Slatest

New Report Finds More Than 1,000 Public Symbols of the Confederacy Remain Standing

Police separate protesters and counterprotesters in front of a statue of Robert E. Lee.
Police keep demonstrators in support of a statue of Robert E. Lee separated from counterprotesters on Sept. 16, 2017, in Richmond, Virginia. Win McNamee/Getty Images

In the years since a white gunman murdered nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina—a time in which white supremacy has become increasingly visible, culminating in a violent clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which one woman was killed—the movement to remove symbols of the confederacy has experienced spurts of success. A new report has now quantified that success, showing that more than 100 monuments and symbols of the confederacy have been removed in the past three years—but also that more than 1,000 still remain.

A new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which advocates for the statues to be removed and placed in educational contexts, has found that since the Charleston church shooting in 2015, at least 47 monuments—and a total of 110 symbols of the confederacy more generally—have been taken down. But 772 monuments were left standing, spread across 23 states but most concentrated in Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

“We’ve seen a remarkable effort to remove Confederate monuments from the public square, yet the impact has been limited by a strong backlash among many white Southerners who still cling to the myth of the ‘Lost Cause’ and the revisionist history that these monuments represent,” Heidi Beirich, the director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said.

The report included city and school names as forms of confederate tribute but excluded those in battlefields and museums. Including all forms of symbols of the confederacy, there are more than 1,782 confederate tributes.

Seven states have laws banning the removal of monuments, according to ABC News. Alabama and North Carolina passed their laws after the Charleston shooting, in response to the nationwide backlash against symbols of white supremacy.