Ever since neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, Confederate monuments have reemerged as flashpoints for the national conversation about race, white supremacy, and history.
But the bronze statue of Lee riding a horse in Charlottesville is just one of 1,500 Confederate memorials scattered across the United States. Most of them were erected decades after the end of the Civil War as a result of a revisionist set of beliefs often referred to as the “Lost Cause” that aimed to romanticize the Confederacy and downplay the issue of slavery.
While groups fighting to keep the monuments insist they’re integral to Southern history and identity, others consider them symbols of white supremacy that have no place in public spaces. In the wake of Charlottesville, for example, officials in some cities have scrambled to take down their Confederate monuments. Protesters in Durham, North Carolina, meanwhile, took matters into their own hands and toppled a statue without city permission.
Here’s what’s been unfolding around monuments in the last 24 hours alone.
Man charged for attempting to bomb Confederate statue in Houston
Federal authorities announced that Andrew Schneck, 25, had been charged on Monday for attempting to bomb a statue celebrating a Confederate military figure erected in 1905.
According to charging documents, a Houston park ranger found Schneck late Saturday night kneeling in front of the monument and holding two small boxes, a bottle of clear fluid, a timer, and wires. Bomb-squad investigators later determined that the bottle contained the explosive nitroglycerin and the box contained other ingredients needed to “provide a viable explosive device,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Ellicott City, Maryland, removes Howard City Confederate monument during the night
Under cover of darkness, Ellicott City, Maryland, removed a Confederate monument from outside the Howard County courthouse on Monday night. The city’s county executive, Allan Kittleman, ordered its removal after explaining in a Facebook post that he believed the monument should be in a local museum instead.
“It’s become increasingly clear in recent weeks that memorials such as this are hurtful to many residents in our community and elsewhere,” Kittleman wrote. “Given these feelings and the tragedy in Charlottesville, I felt compelled to remove this memorial from public property.”
Protesters demand removal of Confederate monument in Bradenton, Florida
Hundreds of protesters, led by Black Lives Matter activists, gathered Monday evening in downtown Bradenton to demand the removal of a Confederate monument erected in 1924 outside the courthouse. Last Friday, the city council voted 6-1 to board up the granite obelisk with plywood to protect it from the planned rally.
The structure memorializes Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, and president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, and was raised “in memory of our Confederate soldiers.”
Protesters chanting “Take it down!” encountered a smaller group of counterprotesters defending the monument with shouts of “It’s history!” While “tensions began to flare” early on between the two sides, according to the Bradenton Herald, local law enforcement acted quickly and ultimately sent in horses to break up the melée.
Debate over Confederate monument dominates Decatur, Georgia, City Council meeting
Emotions were reportedly running high on Monday as around 75 residents from Decatur — located in the Atlanta metropolitan area — attended a city council meeting to discuss the future of the Confederate monument that has sat in the city’s square since 1908. Local news reported that the majority of attendees said the monument should be moved away from a position of reverence and into a museum-like setting.
In the last week, dueling petitions have been circulating in Decatur. One supporting the monument has garnered more than 1,000 signatures. Another calling for its removal has more than 2,000 signatures. Residents presented both to the City Council on Monday.
Last week, someone smeared the monument with feces.
Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore vandalized with sledgehammer
A 225-year-old monument honoring Christopher Columbus, the explorer and colonialist who traveled from Spain to “discover” America, was vandalized on Monday morning. While Columbus is obviously not a Confederate icon, the incident exemplifies heightened scrutiny of the historical events and figures memorialized in statues and monuments across the country.
A video posted on YouTube shows two individuals, one of whom tapes a sign to the monument that reads, “The Future is racial and economic justice.” Someone then takes a sledgehammer to the monument.
“Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere,” says “Ty,” the video’s narrator.