State of Alabama sues Madison County for relocation of Confederate monument

(Image is a screen grab of a Facebook Live video by Reemuhlus Bowden)

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Friday that the State of Alabama is suing Madison County for the relocation of its Confederate monument.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 3:40 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2020 4:13 PM

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Friday that the State of Alabama is suing Madison County for the relocation of its Confederate monument.

Marshall's announcement states that the relocation of the monument was in violation of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which was passed in 2017.

“On October 23, upon authorization of the Madison County Commission, the historic monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers was removed from the grounds of the Madison County Courthouse. The monument, which was originally erected in 1905 and was accidentally destroyed in 1966, was replaced with a replica in 1968,” his announcement reads.

When the monument was relocated last month, the Madison County Commission argued that because their petition to move the monument didn't receive a hearing for more than 90 days, that opened up a path to legally relocate it. 

"There were times in the past few years where we just didn't think this would happen any time soon and we would sometimes say, 'You know what? This is a years-long fight. It's even a generations-long fight kind of dealing with Confederate legacy in the South. But sometimes things move a lot quicker than we expect and this was one of those things," said David Odom, the president of the Tennessee Valley Progressive Alliance.

The Confederate monument is now among the dead Confederate soldiers buried at Maple Hill Cemetery.

Friday’s announcement goes on to say “The Alabama Supreme Court has held that any violation of the Act is punishable by a one-time fine of $25,000 per violation.”

Odom hopes that the Madison County Commission stands by their decision and defends it in court.

"I think they were right. I think they found a way to move it legally and they need to stick to their argument and fight back against the state. It is wrong for the state government to force communities to keep Confederate monuments on government property. We need to fight that every chance we get and the County Commission needs to fight that still," he said.

You can read the full news release below:

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced today that the State of Alabama has filed a lawsuit against Madison County for its removal of a historic monument in violation of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.

The Memorial Preservation Act was passed in 2017 by the Alabama Legislature to protect architecturally significant buildings, memorial buildings, memorial streets and monuments located on public property for 40 or more years. The Act specifically charges the Attorney General with the duty of enforcement, much as he is authorized to prosecute all civil actions necessary to protect the rights and interests of the State.

On October 23, upon authorization of the Madison County Commission, the historic monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers was removed from the grounds of the Madison County Courthouse. The monument, which was originally erected in 1905 and was accidently destroyed in 1966, was replaced with a replica in 1968.

Madison County was notified on October 27 of the Attorney General’s determination that the monument’s relocation violated state law.

The Alabama Supreme Court has held that any violation of the Act is punishable by a one-time fine of $25,000 per violation.

The State lawsuit is linked here.

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