By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Generations of Southerners have honored and often romanticized about the Confederate Soldiers who fought for Alabama and the other Southern States in the Civil War. The war and the subsequent Northern military occupation led to more glorification of the “good ole days” of the antebellum South. This was reflected in the art of the day, like Gone with the Wind. One of those works of art was the mural at the Jefferson County Court House. It shows White plantation owners overlooking Blacks working in the cotton fields. While that was Southern reality for over 300 years of Southern history, Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown (D) said that it is time to take the mural down.
The pro-Southern History group, Save Our South (SOS) in a statement announced their opposition to the removal of the mural. The group currently has litigation against the Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board proposed removal of the Confederate Veterans Memorial in Linn Park.
Save Our South wrote in a prepared statement that it, “Believes it is detrimental to the preservation of history for future generations, if any monument, mural, memorial, or historical site is removed or desecrated. This includes Confederate, United States, Civil Rights, any war, and religious monuments.”
The SOS statement claimed that, “Removing historical items do not change history. What it does, is grant certain groups the authority to erase and re-write history in order to control the thoughts of upcoming generations for their own political and financial gain. If these groups continue to stir and promote hatred, they continue to receive donations. This is how they operate. They create issues where there are none, so they can keep the wheels of deception turning and their finances growing.”
Commissioner Sandra Little Brown calls the mural racist in a Jefferson County Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 22. ABC 33/40 is reporting that Brown has the support of Commissioners George Bowman (D) and David Carrington (R) for removing the mural.
Commissioner Brown told ABC 33/40, “We’re going to rebrand a new Jefferson County. It cannot be a new Jefferson County with a 1934 picture of injustice and racism, blacks picking cotton at the feet of white woman. I don’t think the majority of the people in Jefferson County really would want that.”
Commissioner David Carrington said in a statement on Facebook, “Sometimes you go to Commission Committee meetings expecting nothing controversial — and BAM it happens. Today, I found myself confronting multiple Courthouse images that send the wrong signals about who we are as a community: a 1934 Old South mural that is prominently displayed in the entrance to the courthouse that depicts slaves picking cotton for a plantation owner; pictures of former commissioners who were convicted of felonies being honorably displayed in the entry hall to the Commission Chambers; and swastika-like images that predate the rise of the Nazis etched into the outside walls of the Courthouse. Things change; people need to as well. So to all the cavemen and cavewomen out there, it’s past time that this county is defined by its future, not its past. (PS. “Cave”men and “Cave”women are Citizens Against Virtually Everything).”
Save Our South wrote in their statement, “For 50 years America, specifically Birmingham, Alabama, has overcome racism and learned to embrace each other. Why now are there groups stirring up emotions and feelings of hatred? If you asked any citizen, no matter their race or religion, on the streets of Birmingham how they feel about these issues, most would tell you that history should be preserved as it happened, whether good or bad. They would also tell you that this is an issue for the citizens of Birmingham and Alabama and that persons from outside our great city and state have no business dictating to us that we need to re-write our history. Our city and state have enough issues to deal with than to spend time on the removal of historical sites and artifacts that 95 percent of the citizens believe should remain.”
There will be a public hearing on Thursday at 1:30 pm to speak about the mural.
Save Our South said, “As groups continue to threaten the re-writing of history, we tell them that we are not going anywhere and we are ready to take a stand to save the history of America and Southern Heritage.”
Original reporting by ABC 33/40 contributed to this report.