HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Confederate monument is no longer standing in front of the Madison County Courthouse in downtown Huntsville.
Law enforcement began blocking off the area surrounding the statue around 11 p.m. Thursday. The monument was officially taken down around 1:30 a.m. Friday
After years of protests, the issue was reignited this spring amid nationwide protests over racial inequality. After several months of back and forth between the Huntsville City Council and Madison County Commission, the decision was apparently made within the past couple of weeks.
As news of the removal spread online, a handful of people came to the Courthouse Square to witness the moment in person.
Joretha Wright told us “I’m speechless, literally speechless. It’s an amazing time for our culture and for people of all colors. I’m excited that I’m able to watch this event happen during this time.”
The monument was relocated to Maple Hill Cemetery, a few blocks away.
The City of Huntsville issued a press release on the monument removal Friday morning. City Administrator John Hamilton commented on the removal process within the update.
“We started mobilizing overnight to make as much progress as possible before businesses opened in the morning and traffic resumed,” said Hamilton. “We hope to complete the move in one day, but our primary focus is on safely and securely moving the monument.”
Madison County Commissioners have been working since June to find a lawful way to move the statue. Mayor Tommy Battle and the Huntsville City Council offered the City’s assistance to secure a suitable location and presented a historic area in the cemetery as an alternative where many Civil War soldiers are buried.
A spokesman for the Alabama Attorney General’s Office confirmed Friday afternoon the office is investigating the movement of the monument to determine if the action violates the state’s Memorial Preservation Act. The law, passed in 2017, gives the state authority to level a fine of $25,000 for the removal of monuments older than 40 years.
Payton Walker’s report at 5:30 a.m.
6:00 a.m. Update: