The removal of the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in New Orleans, was the second of four Confederate monuments scheduled by then New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu for relocation in advance of the city’s 300 anniversary. The larger-than-life image of Davis atop an ornate granite pedestal roughly 15-feet high was erected in 1911, nearly 50 years after the end of the war, and commissioned by the Jefferson Davis Memorial Association.
A month earlier workers dismantled an obelisk that was erected in 1891 to honor members of the Crescent City White League who in 1874 fought in the Reconstruction-era Battle of Liberty Place against the racially integrated New Orleans police and state militia.
Two other works were also removed in the summer of 2017: a bronze statue of Gen. Robert E Lee that has stood in a traffic circle, named Lee Circle, in the city’s central business district since 1884, and an equestrian statue of P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general.
Former Alabama Senator and Attorney General in the Trump Administration Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III bears the Confederate general’s name.
Protests on both sides of the Confederate statue debate were fierce, prompting Mayor Landrieu to make an eloquent, emotional and gifted speech on the subject of removing the Confederate monuments on Friday, May 19, 2017.
The full text of Landrieu’s speech was published by The New York Times. I consider it to be one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard — from its sweeping beginning to its soul-wrenching end.
Thank you for coming.
The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way — for both good and for ill. It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans — the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando De Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Colorix, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of France and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more. Read on.