By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, April 25, State offices were closed as well as many schools across Alabama as the people of Alabama remembered the many men who served the State of Alabama for the cause of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865.
As usual there was a memorial service at the State Capital at 10:00 am sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy. The service was held at the Confederate Veterans Memorial next to the historic antebellum Capitol building.
This year’s memorial service however the event drew vocal counter protestors and one of these brought a shotgun. Mercutio Terrell Southall of Birmingham is a Black Lives Matter protestor best know for disrupting the Donald Trump rally at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center on Saturday, November 8, 2015. The Alabama Media Group is reporting that a second man was arrested at the memorial service as well.
Under Alabama Law it is against the law to bring a weapon to a political event or protest. The state capital complex is also a gun free zone.
The Birmingham based Southern heritage group Save Our South said in a statement, “Protesters at Confederate Memorial Day in Montgomery, AL. The gun was confiscated and he was arrested. They were spitting and cursing. Despicable!”
The Adjutant of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said, “To all my southern friends, I have been asked by the Alabama Capitol Police to provide photo evidence of the events on Monday. I have plenty that have been sent to me and will be doing so tomorrow. From the gun being carried in ready to pretty much all of it. If you have any that you think helps, email them to me at [email protected] or facebook them to me… Thanks. I will turn them over tomorrow… If you are in Montgomery, we have a great ceremony planned for Oakwood Cemetery tomorrow as well…”
There will also be a memorial service on Tuesday, May 26. The Ladies’ Memorial Association, one of the oldest women’s organizations in the South, will hosts its 150th Memorial Service on Tuesday, April 26 at 2 p.m. at the Oakwood Cemetery Pavilion. John H. Merrill, Alabama Secretary of State, is the guest speaker. The event is free and open to the public.
The President of the Ladies Memorial Association, Leslie Kirk said in a statement to reporters, “This memorial Service has been repeated every year without interruption since 1866. In fact, the banner we will be using as part of the ceremony is the original one used 150 years ago.”
At the start of the Civil War, the population of Alabama in 1860 was only 964,201, but 435,080 of those were slaves. It is estimated that over 122,000 Alabamians served in the Confederate armed forces and of those as high as 35,000 were killed. Another 30,000 suffered disabilities from their service. 10,000 Alabama slaves escaped and joined the Union armed forces while 2,700 White Alabamians fought for Union forces. The war was devastating to Alabama’s economy for decades. The number of horses (then the primary means of travel and essential to farm life) plummeted from 127,000 in 1860 to just 80,000 in 1870. The number of mules decreased from 111,000 to just 76,000 in 1870.
The Civil War began in earnest on April 12, 1861 when the South fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. In those days there was no income tax so countries collected tariffs on imports to pay their bills. Union forces in Fort Sumter were collecting those duties and refused to vacate the fort in the harbor even though South Carolina had declared their secession from the United States of America. President Abraham Lincoln (R) made the decision to put down what he claimed to be a rebellion by force and invaded the South. After four years of intense fighting Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered to U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia on April 9, 1865.
In 2014 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) declared April as Confederate Heritage and History Month.