OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – A change.org petition is circulating across east Alabama, asking for the removal of a Confederate monument in Opelika.
The petition reads: “The monument dedicated to the united daughters of the confederate (December 7, 1910), located in the heart of First Baptist Church in Opelika, Alabama, does not represent the community as a city dedicated to change and a unified, solid front. The members and meaning of this monument are representative of how explicit this statue offers pre-existing images for racists. This statue represents an image of hate and intolerance. It is a symbol meant to memorialize slavery. The confederates say the war was fought for state’s rights and against the federal system, adding that symbols such as the confederate flag and confederate statues commemorate history and culture, when in reality, it was about slavery and racial injustices. Black Americans feel that the presence of these symbols publicly displayed are offensive. How can Americans progress if we are constantly reminded of the pain and angst of our history? Removing this statue and symbols of the likes is a start.”
News 3 reached out to Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller regarding the monument located in a triangular courtyard at the intersection of Avenue C, South 8th Street, and Geneva Street. Gary Fuller says the monument is on private property.
“The confederate monument and Opelika is privately owned and depicts an unknown Confederate soldier. It was built on private land owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The monument did not receive public funding. It was privately funded. The city of Opelika has no control over the existing confederate monument. The private property owner would have to decide to move the monument. Private property owners enjoy protections under both the U.S. Constitution and the Alabama Constitution, as well as other guarantees provided by federal and state laws. No confederate monument exists in Opelika outside of the one on private property. The city lacks legal authority to remove the monument,” wrote Fuller.
You can read the Change.org petition at the following link. As of Thursday morning, 751 people have signed the petition asking the monument of the unknown soldier to be removed.