It doesn't look like Alabama will be getting rid of its Confederate monuments anytime soon. Rather than join New Orleans in tearing down the symbols, Governor Kay Ivey signed legislation this week aimed at protecting that state's statues from being taken down, including one at the capitol, the Hill reports.
The GOP-backed bill, which was sponsored by State Senator Gerald Allen, would block local municipalities from removing any public statue that's stood for at least 40 years. It would also prohibit anyone from changing the name of any public school that's been around for four decades. According to the Hill, the new law will protect nine standing confederate monuments in the state.
The call for Southern states to remove their existing Confederate imagery ramped up after a self-proclaimed white supremacist gunned down nine black church parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Since then, a few Southern states have removed the Confederate flag from their state houses and license plates, but the fight to bring down monuments remains heated.
City workers received death threats before taking down four monuments in New Orleans in recent weeks, and a bunch of people brought torches to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Virginia earlier this month. One Republican lawmaker in Mississippi—a state that features the stars and bars on its state flag—said this week that people removing the monuments "should be lynched."
Many lawmakers, civil rights advocates, and regular citizens see the monuments and flags as offensive reminders of America's shameful racist past.
"These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for," New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a speech following the city's monument removal. "To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future."
But in Alabama, lawmakers like Gerald Allen apparently care more about ending what he's called a "wave of political correctness" currently making its way around the country.
"Where does it end?" Allen asked. "Are all parts of American history subject to purging, until every Ivy League professor is satisfied and the American story has been re-written as nothing but a complete fraud and a betrayal of our founding values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"