The report, released Monday, documents a national trend even as the North Carolina Historical Commission continues to grapple with the issue of Confederate statues in downtown Raleigh and students, faculty and lawmakers continue to push for removal of the “Silent Sam” statue at UNC’s Chapel Hill campus.
According to the SPLC:
The new study found:
- 772 monuments in 23 states and the District of Columbia; more than 300 are in Georgia, Virginia or North Carolina;
- 100 public schools named for Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis or other Confederate icons;
- 80 counties and cities named for Confederates;
- 9 paid holidays for state employees in five states; and
- 10 U.S. military bases named for Confederate military heroes.
The Confederate holidays include Jefferson Davis’ Birthday, which is being celebrated today in Alabama.
The report also identifies two distinct periods that saw a significant rise in the dedication of monuments and other symbols. The first began around 1900, amid the period in which Southern states were enacting Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise the newly freed African Americans and re-segregate society. The second began in the early 1950s and lasted through the 1960s, as the civil rights movement led to a backlash among segregationists.
The 110 removals since the Charleston attack include 47 monuments and four flags, and name changes for 37 schools, seven parks, three buildings and seven roads. Eighty-two removals were in former Confederate states. Texas led the way (31), followed by Virginia (14), Florida (9), Tennessee (8), Georgia (6), Maryland (6), North Carolina (5) and Oklahoma (5).
“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,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, in a release on the study.
“People across the country are waking up to the reality that these tributes to the Confederacy perpetuate the idea of white supremacy and glorify a regime that supported the torture, murder and enslavement of black people,” Beirich said. “That’s why white supremacists today continue to wave the Confederate flag. It’s time for courageous political leaders to say enough is enough.”
Read the full report here.