Is Jackson next, or will monument removal end with current four?

Street names, other statues raise questions

Chris Miller
May 12, 2017 - 8:45 am

Will the removal of four controversial monuments in New Orleans end with taking down of statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard? Or could other monuments and statues that honor people with complicated histories be next?

The centerpiece of Jackson Square, the statue of General Andrew Jackson, has been brought up by people on both sides of the monument debate. Supporters of the monuments fear the Jackson statue could become a target. Some on the other side have said as much.

"We want all of them to come down, not just the four that the mayor has designated," activist Malcolm Suber of Take'em Down NOLA told WWL-TV. Last September, Suber led a march demanding the removal of the Jackson statue.

Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, had no involvement with the Confederacy or the Civil War -- he died in 1845, nearly 15 years before any state seceded. But Jackson was also a slave owner, and as president, signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, leading to the infamous "Trail of Tears."

Political analyst Clancy DuBos doesn't think the current city council has any desire to start another monument-removal controversy.

"I don't see any sentiment among elected officials to taking down Andrew Jackson's statue, or doing anything beyond the Confederate monuments," he said. "I think the calculus for how to do this is...why were these statues put up in the first place?'

DuBos said the Jackson statue doesn't fit into the reasoning the city used when it declared the four monuments a public nuisance.

"In the case of the...Confederate monuments, they were put up to honor the Confederacy, which rebelled against the United States of America, caused a Civil War, and lost," said DuBos. 

"Andrew Jackson's statue was put up because Andrew Jackson saved the Republic by defeating the British in the Battle of New Orleans and saving the city of New Orleans from invasion," said DuBos. "He was not a Confederate. Whether he was a slave owner or a bad man has nothing to do with him saving New Orleans from a British invasion."

What about street names, like Jefferson Davis Parkway and Robert E. Lee Boulevard?

"You know, I think the council will take any of these ideas one at a time," DuBos said. 

Does DuBos think this will be an issue in upcoming elections for city council and mayor? 

"I think they will have to talk about it," he said, "because they will be asked about it."

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