Activists seek to repeal Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017

Activists seek to repeal 2017 monuments law

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - One of the groups that led efforts to move the Madison County Confederate statue says the battle does not end there.

According to David Person, a leading member of the Rosa Parks Day Committee, the next plan of action is repealing a three-year-old law that protects these monuments. It’s called the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017.

Under this law, any monument that’s stood for more than 40 years can only be moved with approval from a state committee.

Person does not believe it is just.

“This is the law that enabled the monument to stand as long as it did and it’s still protecting other monuments and tributes to confederates across our state,” Person said.

Person says he’s been in contact with state representative Rex Reynolds about repealing the law but recognizes the legislature does not meet again until February.

Meanwhile, the Rosa Parks Day Committee is speaking out about what should be placed in the open spot in front of the courthouse.

One idea is to place a historical marker to acknowledge the lynchings that took place in Madison County. Person says the Madison County Remembrance Project is working to make this happen in conjunction with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery.

“It would be a wonderful gesture and statement by the county," Person said. “This is a part of our history and the only way I think we can move forward as a community, as a nation even, is to continue to reconcile our past with our present.”

Person says he’s yet to receive negative feedback about the monument’s removal, but he’s well aware that there are two sides to this discussion.

“I would certainly expect that there will be people who will be very disappointed with what has happened and what actions they plan to take I don’t know," Person said. "But I do know that from our standpoint, it was a very important step to see this monument relocated to a place that was more appropriate and certainly Maple Hill Cemetery is one of those places.”

Person believes Maple Hill Cemetery is an appropriate place because Confederate soldiers are already buried there. He also says putting it in a museum with some historical context would have been suitable.

The Equal Justice Initiative is currently collecting soil from lynching sites and creating memorials across the state.

Once that phase is complete, Person says members will begin installing historical markers at various locations.

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