MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued the following statement from Susan Corke, director of the Intelligence Project, in response to the 2022 release of its Whose Heritage? data and map, which tracks public symbols of the Confederacy across the United States. Currently, seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) have enacted preservation laws to block the removal of Confederate memorials. Florida is working to enact a similar law that is designed to deny the will of communities who do not want symbols that glorify white supremacy littering their public spaces.
“Despite progress in removing Confederate iconography from the American landscape, a critical part of telling the hard history of slavery and racism in this country, Southern states continue to block the removal of Confederate symbols.
“This is not what democracy looks like. It is worth noting that these regressive preservation laws were enacted between 2000 and 2021 — more than 135 years after the Civil War was lost — to keep false heroes on a pedestal. But Americans recognize these symbols represent hate instead of heritage and do not tell our entire, shared history.
“As the military works to remove all Confederate iconography by the Naming Commission’s January 2024 deadline, the SPLC will continue to support and encourage local activists who are challenging this age-old propaganda campaign. We can achieve racial justice by creating public spaces free of malice that we all can enjoy and be proud of.”
- Whose Heritage? data found that 48 Confederate symbols were removed, renamed, or relocated from public spaces in 2022.
- Sixteen (16) of those symbols were Confederate monuments. Comparatively, 17 Confederate statues were removed in 2021.
- For the third straight year, Virginia leads the nation by removing thirteen (13) Confederate symbols from public spaces. Louisiana and North Carolina tied at seven (7) for second place, and New York and Texas tied at five (5) tied for third.
- Out of the more than 2,600 Confederate symbols that are still publicly present across the U.S., 47 symbols are still pending removal in eleven states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico.
- Ten (10) of the 47 symbols pending removal are schools that are expected to be renamed in Alabama (1), Georgia (1), South Carolina (4) and Virginia (4).
- A total of 482 Confederate symbols have been removed, renamed, or relocated from public spaces following the Charleston massacre on June 17, 2015.
The third edition of the SPLC’s Whose Heritage? report, updated in Feb. 2022, shows that of the more than 2,600 Confederate symbols still publicly present across the U.S., 894 are Confederate statues. The balance consists of government buildings, plaques, markers, schools, parks, counties, cities, military property, and streets and highways named after anyone associated with the Confederacy.
After learning that nine Black people were killed during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a gunman radicalized by white supremacist websites, the SPLC began to catalog all of the Confederate symbols in public spaces across the country.
If you know of a Confederate symbol in your area or want to share an update, please email us at email@example.com.
The Whose Heritage? Action Guide helps communities take action to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public places.