Alabama lawmakers on Friday approved sweeping protection for Confederate monuments, names and other historical monuments, such as some Southern cities, the remembrance of the acceptability of such symbols on public property.
The measure would prohibit the transfer, deletion, modification, renaming, or other disturbance of any architectural building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument that has stood on public property for 40 years or more,” it reads. Changes of names or memorials installed between 20 and 40 years ago would need the permission of a new member state to the commission.
Afro-American legislators against the bill at every step of the process of legislation, saying it argued that solidifies a shameful legacy of slavery.
“You say that we have the protection of the history. We are not the protection of the history. We protect monuments that stand for the suppression of a large part of the people in the state of Alabama,” said Sen. Hank Sanders, an African-American Democrat from Selma.
Proponents argued that the measure must protect against all forms of history — not only Connected symbols.
Sen. Gerald Allen, the bill’s Republican sponsor, criticized what he called a “wave of political correctness”, the eradication of monuments for the people who he said were historically significant, even if they are their personal mistakes.
The regulation also applies to schools named to commemorate people.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey added an amendment, which lawmakers approved, to make it clear that schools can change and do renovations, but not the names change. The change came after lawmakers concerns that schools, which often with the name for the people, could not do renovations or move the framework of the law of the directive.
Governments throughout the South to reconsider the appropriateness of monuments in honor of the Confederation. Some have decided to remove them altogether, while others would add statues to honor civil rights figures, or plaques with historical information about slavery and the legal segregation that followed.
Officials in New Orleans are the removal of a number of Southern monuments. The planned removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompted a torch-lit protest and a candle lit counter-demonstration.
Birmingham park board has approved a resolution for the removal of a 52-meter-high Confederate monument in a park in the center of 2015, prompted a legal challenge from a Southern heritage organization.
“Are you good with the remediation of the history as we see in New Orleans?” asked Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City. His opponents countered that the local authorities should be able to decide what is suitable for their communities.