MOBILE, Ala. — A Confederate statue that had been standing for nearly 120 years was taken down overnight.
The Admiral Raphael Semmes Confederate Monument was erected in 1900. Now, its base is empty after Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s decision.
Few eyes witnessed the removal take place. News organizations in the region were unaware and were unable to cover it.
“I think this is long overdue for the city of Mobile,” Ollie Wilson said.
Mayor Stimpson joined the ranks of many other officials in cities across the country including Birmingham, in removing confederate monuments.
Stimpson released this statement on his Facebook pages this morning:
“On June 4, 2020, I ordered that the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes be moved from its location at the intersection of Government and Royal streets in downtown Mobile.
The task was completed this morning, June 5. The statue has been placed in a secure location.
To be clear: This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history.
Moving this statue will not change the past. It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city. That conversation, and the mission to create One Mobile, continues today.”
Friday morning’s removal brought out a lot of different emotions from residents. Some were excited, even dancing and taking pictures at the empty base where the statue once stood. Others were angry, some saying it was an integral piece of history.
“I don’t think any of them should come down. If we gonna tear down these [statues], tear down them all, just like the jester over here celebrating Mardi Gras,” Eric Manley explained.
However, Wilson came out to take pictures and view the empty base with her daughter. She said the confederate monument was offensive, and the removal is a step forward.
“This signifies a time in American history that was not kind to our people,” she said. “I think that we’re trying to come together as a nation, and this is a start.”
In terms of the actual statue, FOX 10 news asked the Mayor’s spokesperson where it has been placed and what will be done with it. Spokesperson George Talbot said the decision will be announced in due time.