Residents react to confederate monument removal overnight in Alabama

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MOBILE, AL (WALA) — A statue that has been standing in Mobile nearly 120 years was taken down overnight.

The Admiral Raphael Semmes Confederate Monument was erected in 1900.

Last night’s sudden removal was at Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s prompt.

“How far are we willing to go?” said Eric Manley.

Not many eyes were able to see and no news cameras were there to witness the taking down of the more than a century old confederate statue in Downtown Mobile.

“I think this is long overdue for the city of Mobile,” Ollie Wilson said.

Mayor Stimpson joined the ranks of many other officials in cities across the country including Birmingham, in removing confederate monuments.

Stimpson released this statement on his Facebook pages this morning:

“On June 4, 2020, I ordered that the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes be moved from its location at the intersection of Government and Royal streets in downtown Mobile.

The task was completed this morning, June 5. The statue has been placed in a secure location.

To be clear: This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history.

Moving this statue will not change the past. It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city. That conversation, and the mission to create One Mobile, continues today.”

Friday morning’s removal brought out a lot of different emotions from residents. Some excited, even dancing and taking pictures at the empty base where the statue once stood. Others were angry, some saying it’s an integral piece of history.

“I don’t think any of them should come down. If we gonna tear down these tear down them all. Just like the jester over here celebrating Mardi Gras,” Manley explained.

Wilson, who had come out to take pictures and view the empty base with her daughter, said the confederate monument is offensive and the removal is a step forward.

“This signifies a time in American history that was not kind to our people,” she explained. “I think that we’re trying to come together as a nation and this is a start.”

In terms of the actual statue, FOX 10 news asked the Mayor’s spokesperson where it has been placed and what will be done with it. Spokesperson George Talbot said the decision will be announced in due time.

A group is planning a protest that was supposed to take place around the monument Sunday. Because of the weather, it has been moved up a day to Saturday.

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