Next Birmingham Mayor May Inherit Confederate Monument Fight

Oct 9, 2017

City workers assemble a plywood barrier around the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park, Birmingham, Ala.

Birmingham’s next mayor may have a fight on his hands immediately upon taking office in November.

Randall Woodfin may have to find a way to deal with the ongoing controversy over an embattled Confederate monument in Birmingham. The city is facing a lawsuit from the state Attorney General Steve Marshall over the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park.

The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act that was passed this summer makes it illegal to remove or rename any memorial streets or buildings on public property that have been in place for 40 or more years.

Mayor William Bell put boards up around the monument to obstruct the statue from public viewing. The lawsuit was filed against the city and Mayor Bell the very next day.

Alfred Brophy is a law professor at the University of Alabama. He thinks the city is still looking for a way to get around the law.

“Birmingham doesn’t have the power to take the statue down. I think that’s clear. They don’t have the power to move. I don’t think there is anything that says they don’t have the power to add other monuments in other ways or do things that affect the context of the monument.”

The lawsuit argues the deliberate obstruction of the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument is illegal. The state also insists the city pay a $25,000 fine for every day the monument is blocked. A hearing is scheduled for next month.