On Monday, workers in New Orleans removed the first of four Confederate monuments set to be taken down, NBC News reports.
The first monument removed was the Liberty Monument. That statue commemorated a group of whites -- many of whom were Confederate veterans -- who fought to overthrow the racially integrated Reconstruction government in the city following the Civil War.
To put it another way, a major US city just tore down a statue that honored unabashed racists who hated the idea of a biracial government.
There's something very satisfying about watching a symbol that celebrates white supremacists be ripped from the ground.
The other monuments set to be removed include statues in honor of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederate States.
The monuments will likely be relocated to a museum for educational purposes.
In a statement, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said,
The removal of these statues sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of New Orleans and the nation: New Orleans celebrates our diversity, inclusion and tolerance. Relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics, blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once. This is about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile -- and most importantly-- choose a better future. We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context –and that's where these statues belong.
Not everyone is happy these monuments are being removed.
Contractors involved in removing the statues have reportedly been threatened, and construction workers wore masks to cover their faces as they worked.
Some protesters also gathered in New Orleans on Monday to express their discontentment.
These individuals see these monuments as symbols of their heritage and the history of the South.
But, the sad truth is the history of the South, and the US more generally, is filled with racism, hatred and oppression.
The Confederacy was a traitorous, racist army that fought to preserve slavery in the United States (the war was not about state's rights, in spite of what some might claim).
We can't ignore the history of the US.
It's important we recognize and educate people on the darker chapters of our past, as to not see them repeated and to understand the ways they continue to impact the present.
But there's a big difference between acknowledging an ugly history and having monuments that celebrate it.
Anyone who fought for the Confederate army -- or continued pushing for an oppressive, segregated society in the wake of the Civil War -- was on the wrong side of history. It's that simple.
There are plenty of figures in US history who deserve to be commemorated. None of them fought for the disintegration of the United States and the perpetuation of slavery.