Group raises money to remove Confederate statue from Madison County Courthouse

Updated: Jun. 10, 2020 at 7:08 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - One week after a grassroots organization amped up its fundraising efforts, the Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance has raised the money to pay a $25,000 fine required to remove a Confederate monument from the Madison County Courthouse grounds.

The group needs more than cash to take down the statue.

It’s now up to seven men from the Madison County Commission to decide whether the Confederate statue goes or stays outside the county courthouse. “This is not erasing history because everyone is still going to remember that the Confederacy lost the Civil War,” said Catherine Hereford with the Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance.

The statue has immunity due to the state’s Memorial Preservation Act, a law protecting monuments erected during the Jim Crow-era. If a monument is taken down, the state’s attorney general can sue the city for $25,000. “Birmingham has gotten rid of theirs. Mobile has gotten rid of theirs.”

The commission meets for its biweekly meeting Wednesday morning, that is when the Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance plans to address elected officials. “We are lagging behind, by continuing to have this symbol of oppression, and segregation, and abuse, at our courthouse. That is supposed to symbolize and embody justice for all citizens.”

We called and emailed their concerns to the commissioners. While everyone said they received our request only District Four Commissioner Phil Vandiver replied saying “there are ways to do it and rules to follow.” and said the commission is “listening to people in their districts and county."

Last week, Chairman Dale Strong said he was open for a discussion. “I am not pointing this back to legal, what the state law says I want to do what is best for the people of Madison County.”

“A lot of us have been ready to do something for a long time. But the George Floyd case has made a lot more people aware and ready to act,” said Hereford.

The commission controls if the monument will be removed, but Huntsville City Council President Devyn Keith said he would introduce a resolution at the next city council meeting to support the removal of the monument whether it be money, labor or location.

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