UPDATE: Crews fully remove Confederate monument in Birmingham’s Linn Park, Mayor Woodfin receives death threats
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument monument at Birmingham’s Linn Park has been fully removed.
The City of Birmingham shared an image of the site the monument used to stand downtown on Wednesday morning. The monument has been the centerpiece of years-long legal battle with the state of Alabama and also protests in Birmingham this week - some of which included violence.
Demolition began Monday, soon after a 7 p.m. curfew went into effect in the city of Birmingham. Crews began work to remove the 52-foot Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument from where it stood since 1905.
Around 8:30 p.m. Monday night, officials said removal of the monument would take many hours. A little after 10 p.m., the first piece - the top part of the obelisk - was brought down to the ground and loaded to a flatbed semi. After 11 p.m., the middle part of the structure was down and loaded.
Birmingham Mayor Woodfin was interviewed on The Today Show on Wednesday morning, where he stated he has received death threats following the removal of the monument.
Here is verbatim of the interview, in part:
AL ROKER: And for doing that, we hear your life’s been threatened for taking this action. What’s happened?
WOODFIN: Unfortunately, in the state of Alabama, there’s a lot of people who like to participate in revisionist history. They believe it’s American to support the Civil War in relation to these Confederate monuments, but they’re mad because we took the statue down, and yes, there have been several threats, but our security team is not only taking it serious as it relates to me and my protection, but City Hall as well as the citizens of Birmingham protection as well. I tell you this, though, Al, it’s important to note that the city of Birmingham was not even a city during the Civil War, and we don’t have time to worry about something that’s not working for our city, and relegates black people to property and slavery, and so it’s important that we take this down and move forward, and we accomplished that yesterday.
The monument removal comes about 24 hours after protesters in the park damaged and attempted to bring the monument down themselves. They did succeed in bringing down a statue of Confederate veteran Charles Linn, whom the park is named for.
The protest was in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last Monday while in the custody of police.
The monument has been the centerpiece of a legal battle between Birmingham and the state of Alabama in recent years.
The base of the monument was covered with plywood on orders of former Birmingham Mayor William Bell in late 2017. Bell said he thought the monument was offensive and ordered it covered because he feared it would lead to violence.
The plywood covering remained around the monument until Sunday night when protesters removed it during their attempt to bring it down.
In November 2019, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed a circuit court decision fining the city of Birmingham $25,000 for violating Alabama state law protecting historical monuments.
As of Monday night there were 12 arrests in Birmingham in regards to the city’s 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said the curfew remains in effect as long as it is needed.
Woodfin spoke Tuesday afternoon about the removal of the Confederate monument in Linn Park Monday night. He thanked people in the community for a peaceful night. He even said some people offered to pay for the removal.
Mayor Woodfin said city leaders will not disclose the location of the monument in order to protect it from further damage. He went on to say a bomb threat had been called in at the site.
Woodfin will also not identify the company removing the monument.
Mayor Woodfin said the cost to the city to remove the monument is $1.00. He said any donations made to the city for the removal or the storage of the monument or any costs will go before the council for those requests and to receive those funds.
City leaders are in discussions with state leaders about where the monument will eventually go.
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