Spectators cheered Saturday when a stone statue of a Confederate general was hoisted up with a crane and removed from a pedestal where it stood for 99 years in front of a city hall in southern Louisiana.
The removal came a day after the United Daughters of the Confederacy signed an agreement agreeing to move the statue of General Alfred Mouton or let the city do it. A trial had been scheduled for July 26.
“The Confederacy has surrendered”, attorney Jerome Moroux told the lawyer. Moroux represented the city and 16 city residents who wanted the statue to leave.
The assassination of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020 sparked new calls across the country for the removal of Confederate statues, many of which had been erected decades after the civil war, during the Jim Crow era, when states imposed new segregation laws and during the “Lost Cause,” when some historians and others incorrectly described the southern rebellion as a struggle to defend the rights of the states, not slavery.
Mouton, whose full name was Jean-Jacques-Alfred-Alexandre Mouton, was a slave owner and son of a former governor of Louisiana. He died leading a cavalry charge at the Civil War Battle of Mansfield.
“It’s been 99 years at this point, and that’s too long for it to have stayed in place,” Fred Prejean, president of Move the Mindset, a group created to push for the statue’s removal, reported the Advertiser.
In 1980, outgoing Mayor Kenny Bowen wanted to move the statue to what was then the new Lafayette City Hall. Although the United Daughters of the Confederacy delivered the statue to the city in 1922, the group fought against the move, in part because Mouton’s father had once owned the statue site.
The group delayed the move until Dud Lastrapes took office, then obtained a permanent court order to tender any move unless it was necessary for road works or the land was sold, the advertiser reported.
Residents called on the city in 2016, during a national movement to remove Confederate statues, to remove Mouton from city hall. But after United Daughters threatened to sue, the parish city council backed down.
That led to the creation of Move the Mindset and other groups to raise awareness of the Jim Crow era history of the statue, the treatment of blacks during that period, and the negative implications of having a Confederate statue at an entrance to the center. of Lafayette.
Sixteen members of Move the Mindset submitted documents in 2019 to intervene in the 1980 court order, arguing that the group’s unconditional donation of the statue left it without any legal rights to fight a move.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory asked attorneys to investigate the options and in 2020 the City Council approved the removal. The city joined Move the Mindset in the legal fight against the 1980 court order.