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States with the most Confederate memorials

  • States with the most Confederate memorials

    Dozens of Confederate memorials around the United States were taken down on the heels of a 2015 shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine Black parishioners including the church’s pastor.

    Two years later, in defiance of plans to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, hundreds of self-described neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally. Clashes at that rally with counter-protesters peaked when a man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, injuring 19 people and killing one woman named Heather Heyer. At the end of the August event, three were dead, dozens injured, and the ongoing debate over whether Confederate monuments ought to be protected or removed remained unresolved.

    The debate has gained renewed fervor in 2020 since the May 25 death of a Black man named George Floyd, who was killed when a white police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 49 seconds. Protests in cities and small towns around the country and world have included acts of civil disobedience such as covering Confederate monuments in graffiti or toppling Confederate statues and other monuments perceived as symbols of oppression and slavery. Across the United States, pressure has mounted to take such monuments away and out of the public eye, with dozens of municipalities already taking action to do so.

    There remain more than 1,500 Confederate monuments in the U.S., according to the “Whose Heritage?” data project by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Stacker mined the SPLC’s research and ranked states according to which have the most Confederate memorials, including statues, parks, schools, streets, highways, or practically any structure which, in one way or another, honors a Confederate figure or the whole coalition of seceded states.

    The first half-dozen Confederate monuments went up as soon as the Civil War ended in 1865. From then until 1900, most years saw between two and six monuments go up. Then, installations surged: In 1911 alone, 49 Confederate monuments were erected around the country, according to the SPLC. 1911 also coincides with the peak of Jim Crow laws designed to disadvantage Blacks and perpetuate segregation. Other surges appear throughout the first half of the 20th century, with pronounced increases in Confederate monuments going up throughout the civil rights movement and smaller increases at the turn of the 21st century and immediately following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.

    Various groups stand by claims that these memorials serve as important historical markers; others argue the memorials glorify white supremacists and ignore those who were hurt, enslaved, and killed by the scourge of racism in this country. Some historians suggest looking at how post-war Germany has handled its past: Concentration camps serve as museums that detail the horrors that occurred therein so people never forget what happened; with nary a Hitler or SS statue to be found. Instead, statues and monuments memorialize victims who were lost as well as those who survived.

    Keep reading to find out where the most Confederate monuments still stand, and to learn about recent debates over what to do with them.

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  • #32. South Dakota

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 1
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Gettysburg (1 symbol)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 0

    Gettysburg, South Dakota, was mapped out by Confederate and Union war veterans in 1883. They had made their way into the Dakota Territory following the end of the Civil War and named the town after the famous battle back east. The police department in Gettysburg—known colloquially as "Where the Battle Wasn't"—in 2009 began using a uniform patch depicting both the U.S. and Confederate flags. The mayor and police department have defended the logo despite public outcry including from George Floyd’s uncle, who has lived in the town since 2017.

    [Pictured: A sign in Gettysburg, South Dakota.]

  • #31. Nevada

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 1
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Snake Range Mountains (1 symbol)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 0

    The University of Nevada at Las Vegas in mid-June removed its “Hey Reb!” statue from its campus and is considering changing its “Rebel” mascot (that originally appeared as a wolf donning a Confederate uniform).

    Elsewhere in Nevada, the Jeff Davis Peak in Great Basin National Park was dedicated in 1855 to Jefferson Davis who, at the time, was secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce. Davis also worked as a U.S. senator for Mississippi but resigned in 1861 just before being elected to lead the Confederacy. In 1862, Davis selected Robert E. Lee to be the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. in his lifetime, Davis never visited Nevada.

    In June 2019, the United States Geological Survey voted unanimously to return the peak to its original name, Doso Doyabi.

    [Pictured: Doso Doyabi and Wheeler Peaks in Great Basin National Park, Nevada.]

  • #30. New Mexico

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 1
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Fort Craig (1 symbol)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 3

    A Confederate monument several miles from the Fort Craig National Historic Site in New Mexico was erected by the Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1936. The monument purports to be in memory of Confederate soldiers known and unknown who died in the Battle of Valverde during the Civil War on Feb. 21, 1862.

    The Confederacy won the Battle of Valverde, but not without 36 deaths, 150 injuries, and the loss of supply wagons that were burned. Confederate troops from that battle went on to capture Albuquerque and Santa Fe before being defeated by Union soldiers at Glorieta Pass March 26–28, 1862.

    In addition to battles over Confederate monuments, Native Americans in New Mexico in June successfully pushed for the removal of two statues depicting Spanish conquistadors.

    [Pictured: Former officer’s quarters at the Fort Craig National Historic Site in New Mexico.]

  • #29. Indiana

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 1
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Corydon (1 symbol)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 2

    Indiana’s one Confederate marker stands in memory of the 11 men who were killed and 40 who were injured while fighting in “Morgan’s Raid,” Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate Cavalry Division that overwhelmed Union Troops during the Battle of Corydon on July 9, 186. It was the only battle fought in the state and was won by the Confederacy.

    Gen. Morgan was known for his violent and chaotic raids, which included taking prisoners, stealing supplies, extorting money, burning buildings, and breaking telegraph and railroad lines in Union territories. Morgan’s Raid was the Civil War’s longest cavalry raid, carving a path of destruction across more than 1,000 miles.

    [Pictured: A historic marker in downtown Corydon, Indiana.]

  • #28. Iowa

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 1
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Bentonsport (1 symbol)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 0

    The Bentonsport monument wasn’t put up until 2007 to honor a Confederate general who lived there for one year when he was a young boy. The memorial has been controversial since its installation, with renewed pushes for its removal following the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

    In Bloomfield, three rocks mark the furthest point reached by Confederate soldiers coming out of the South. That marker was installed in 2005.

    [Pictured: A general view of Bentonsport, Iowa.]

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  • #27. Delaware

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 1
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Georgetown (1 symbol)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 0

    A petition launched in June 2020 calls for the removal of the Confederate monument and flag standing in Delaware outside the Nutter Marvel Carriage Museum in Georgetown. The monument and flag have been on the site since 2007.

    The Georgetown Historical Society, which owns the property the monument is sitting on, does not in fact own or maintain the installation—although funding for that group was pulled in 2019 amid objections from Delaware Sen. Trey Paradee over the monument and flag.

    [Pictured: A general view of historic buildings in Georgetown, Delaware.]

  • #26. Washington

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 2
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Bellingham (1 symbol)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 1

    East Wenatchee, Washington, is home to Lee Elementary School, named in 1955 for Gen. Robert E. Lee at the same time other Confederate monuments and memorials were going up around the country in defiance of the civil rights movement. There was much debate in 2015 over whether to change the name, but the community opted to keep it as-is.

    In Bellingham, Pickett Road was named for George Pickett, who resigned from the U.S. military when the Civil War broke out and became a colonel for the Confederacy. And just outside Ridgefield in Clark County, Jefferson Davis Park pays homage to the president of the Confederate States of America. The monuments there once marked the northern and southern points of State Route 99. The park is owned by a group called Sons of Confederate Veterans.

    Following the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and related counter-protests, the Sons of Confederate Veterans said they had received multiple death threats along with calls to remove the monuments.

    [Pictured: Whatcom Creek Falls run under the Prospect Creek Bridge (formerly Pickett Street Bridge) in Bellingham, Washington.]

  • #25. Montana

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 2
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Dillon (2 symbols)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 1

    Almost three years after its removal, Montana in April 2020 replaced its Confederate Memorial Fountain with The Equity Fountain. The monument to the Confederacy stood for more than a century but had come under fire along with hundreds of others following the violence that erupted in Charlottesville in 2017.

    Elsewhere in the state, other memorials remain, including the Jeff Davis Creek in Dillon.

    [Pictured: The Confederate Memorial Fountain in Helena, Montana, photographed in April 2017.]

  • #24. Massachusetts

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 2
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: Martha's Vineyard (2 symbols)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 1

    Two plaques that once honored Confederate soldiers on a statue in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard were moved to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in 2019. The plaques had been at the base of a statue depicting a Union soldier, causing confusion over the last century as many people misunderstood which side the statue represented.

    A Confederate monument in Boston Harbor Islands, dedicated in 1963, was removed in 2017.

    [Pictured: The Civil War statue in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard is pictured on April 24, 2019.]

  • #23. Pennsylvania

    - Total number of Confederate symbols: 3
    - City with the most Confederate symbols: McConnellsburg (3 symbols)
    - Number of symbol removals since 1880: 0

    Two road markets installed in 1929 and 1930 (respectively) in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, pay homage to Confederate soldiers.

    The marker on U.S. 522 commemorates Confederate soldiers who escaped to the town via the nearby mountain following a fire in nearby Chambersburg in 1864 that was authorized by Brigadier Gen. John McCausland. The Rebel officers hid out in a farmhouse in McConnellsburg and the soldiers stayed nearby while keeping watch for Union troops. On PA-16, a marker denotes where two Confederate soldiers were buried after being killed in 1863 in what was supposedly the first Civil War battle in Pennsylvania.

    Both markers came under fresh scrutiny in 2017 following the Unite the Right Rally and its counter-protests in Charlottesville.

    [Pictured: A historic marker on the town square in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.]

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