HANCEVILLE, Ala. — An Alabama mayor is offering to take Confederate-related monuments recently disassembled in New Orleans.
Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail wrote to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, asking him to consider donating the monuments for display in Veterans Memorial Park in Hanceville. The town of about 3,250 people is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Birmingham.
Nail tells The Cullman Times he’s heard nothing but positive feedback on the idea from Hanceville residents.
“One of my good friends, who is black, even messaged me on Facebook and told me, ‘Look, some of my ancestors were forced to fight in that war (the Civil War), and I think it’s a good idea to remember these things.’ He told me, ‘I drive a truck, and I’ll even go down there and pick them up if the city needs me to,'” Nail said Saturday.
“We did receive the letter and are in the process of responding,” Landrieu spokesman Tyronne Walker said in an email.
Walker reiterated that New Orleans officials plan soon to issue a formal request for proposals to host the monuments in a more appropriate place than the high-profile spots they once occupied.
“All proposals must state how they will place the statues in context, both in terms of why they were first erected and why the City chose to remove them in 2015,” Walker’s email said.
The monuments taken down by the city included a stone obelisk heralding white supremacy and three statues of Confederate stalwarts: Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy’s president, Jefferson Davis, and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. The city’s request for proposals does not include the Beauregard statue. Its future is murkier because of legal disputes over who owns the property on which it was placed, at the entrance to New Orleans’ City Park.
New Orleans is the most recent Southern city to remove Confederate symbols seen by some as vestiges of racism. The issue has been especially sensitive since Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist who posed in photos with the Confederate flag, gunned down nine people at a South Carolina church in 2015. Landrieu proposed that the Confederate statues in New Orleans be removed after those killings.
Nail said he’s only interested in obtaining the monuments if they can be had at little to no cost for his city — and so far, he hasn’t heard back about his letter.
“My view is that it’s an opportunity, a great teaching tool that we could have in our city,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to reflect on all our struggles, and to celebrate how far we’ve come, while clearly acknowledging that we had those struggles.”
Information from: The Cullman Times, http://www.cullmantimes.com