The Birmingham Parks and Recreation board voted unanimously Wednesday to remove a monument to the Confederacy from a public park across the street from Birmingham City Hall and the Jefferson County Courthouse.
Parks and Recreation Board member and former Birmingham Mayor Benard Kincaid told a local Fox affiliate he wants to respect history, but that Confederate monuments do not belong on state property in light of the Charleston shooting.
The board also instructed city lawyers to find out whether removal of the statue is legally restricted.
The statue is a tiered tower that bears the inscription: “In honor of the confederate soldier and sailor.” It has stood in the park since 1905, when it was erected by the Pelham Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered the removal of several Confederate flags from a monument at the state capitol last week, but so far that monument remains.
Mayor William Bell agrees with the board’s decision. “My personal opinion is any monument that commemorates the tradition of slavery, the tradition of suppression of a race should be removed,” he told WVTM13.
City Councilor William Parker told WVTM13 he is “pleased” with the board’s decision.
A local resident told WIAT the monument should be left alone. “Why would they take it down, as long as it’s been here?” she said. “Because it’s not bothering anyone. It really isn’t.”
“And I feel it’s a part of history if you ask me,” she continued. “Either way it goes, it’s still going to be what it is. People, you can’t change the way a person thinks or what they feel or what they want to do. You know? It’s just, it’s life.”
The board plans to move the statue to private property.