Growing up in what is called the “Bible Belt,” the history of racism and prejudice was, and still is prominent in the South. Southern states like Alabama have always been in headlines regarding their “southern pride.” The latest news in their legislature proves the previous statement.
Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey(R) signed The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017. This law protects the removal of historical Confederate monuments.
The new legislation prohibits:
The relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument located on public property which has been in place for 40 or more years.
If the monument has been in place for 20-40 years, the altering pass has to go through a committee. If it’s over 40 years, it has to go through the court system. Violations could cost you as much as $25,000.
New Orleans was recently under fire for the removal of their Confederate monuments, which was both praised and protested.
CNN reported that Ivey’s office said the aim is preserving history “for all generations to learn not only from our heroes and our greatest achievements, but to also ensure that we learn from our mistakes and our darkest hours.
A statement from Ivey also said, “When negative aspects of history are repeated, it is often done because we have scrubbed the effects of the past from our memories. This legislation ensures that both the good and bad of our past are remembered so as to enlighten our future.”
On one hand, knowing your history, even if it’s extremely ugly, is needed. Using monuments to represent that ugly past? That may not be needed. Some people would just open a book and read. On the other hand, they are trying to take slavery out of textbooks.
Either way, laws like this will always bring up conversation. You won’t be able to make change if you never talk about what would need to be changed. Hopefully it’s for the best.