On Friday, a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from a monument in New Orleans, the last of three monuments to Confederate figures to be removed from the southern city in the past month.
That same day, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a native New Orleanian, laid out the reasons why he called for the monuments removal, saying "Now is the time to actually make this the city we always should have been, had we gotten it right in the first place." The 20-minute speech is concise and reflective, rejecting sanitized 'Lost Cause' nostalgia.
The latest national push for the removal of Confederate monuments and names began after white supremacist Dylann Roof, who idolized the Confederate flag, killed nine African-American worshippers at Emanuel AME Church. In fact, Landrieu's initial calls for the monuments' removal came on June 24, 2015, less than a week after Roof's rampage.
Emanuel AME Church sits on Calhoun Street, one block from a 115-foot tall monument to John C. Calhoun, who defended the forced enslavement of Africans as a 'positive good.' The Heritage Act of 2000 prevents the changing of S.C. monuments without a supermajority of state legislators.
Given the shared history between Charleston and New Orleans as prominent southern cities during the Civil War and Reconstruction, Landrieu's speech is worth a watch. Pulse Gulf Coast has the full transcript.