Alabama lawmakers approve Confederate monument protections
MONTGOMERY, Ala (AP) —
Alabama lawmakers approved sweeping protections for Confederate monuments, names and other historic memorials on Friday, even as politicians elsewhere rethink the appropriateness of keeping such emblems on public property.
The measure "would prohibit the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument" that has stood on public property for 40 or more years," it reads.
Changes to names or memorials installed between 20 and 40 years ago would need permission from a new state commission.
Supporters argued that the measure should protect all kinds of history — not just Confederate symbols.
Senator Gerald Allen, the bill's Republican sponsor, criticized what he called a "wave of political correctness" wiping out monuments to people he said were historically significant even if they had their personal flaws.
African-American lawmakers opposed the bill at every step of the legislative process, arguing it solidifies a shameful legacy of slavery.
"You say we are protecting history. We are not protecting history. We are protecting monuments that represent oppression to a large part of the people in the state of Alabama," said Senator Hank Sanders, an African-American Democrat from Selma.
The legislation now goes to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Her office said she's reviewing it.