MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Attorney General fined the city of Montgomery $25,000 after a Confederate named street was renamed to commemorate civil rights attorney Fred D. Gray. The state attorney general’s office has stated a lawsuit will follow if the fine goes unpaid.
The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center applauds the city of Montgomery for boldly renaming a street to honor Fred D. Gray. This famed civil rights attorney continues to proudly represent the city’s values, morals, and character, and is a street name that anyone would be proud to claim.
“The street’s former namesake, Jefferson Davis, was an unapologetic white supremacist who called slavery ‘a moral, a social and a political blessing.’ Yet 144 live tributes to Davis are located across the U.S. – second only to the 242 live tributes to Robert E. Lee.
“Oppressive Confederate relics, which are primarily located in Black communities, represent the most dehumanizing and brutal aspects of U.S. history, the aftereffects of which are still felt today. Uplifting the names and likenesses of men who fought and died to enslave Black people for personal and economic gain does nothing to inspire local or cultural pride. This is the legacy that laws like Alabama’s Memorial Preservation Act have upheld since 2017.
“A street name tells visitors a lot about a neighborhood and/or a city. Instead of offering revisionist history, Fred D. Gray Avenue now appropriately and proudly puts Montgomery’s rich history on display.”
At least 156 Confederate memorials, including 40 live streets named after Confederates remain on public land in Alabama. Robert E. Lee has the most streets named after him (10). Three streets honor each of Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Stonewall Jackson.