By Jhonny Vasquez and Thaddius Coleman
There are monuments to members of the Confederacy all over New Orleans. One of the most well-known statues is the Beauregard City Statue, located in New Orleans City Park. Many people see the Beauregard statue, as City Park is one of the city’s most visited areas. We should take these monuments down because they are symbols of white supremacy and reminders of a horrible past.
A prominent general of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, Beauregard fought to continue America’s legacy of slavery in the South. Beauregard’s statue serves as a reminder of racism in America. We should take the statue down because it encourages modern racism and does not allow us to move forward from our past.
The Monumental Task Force, an all-volunteer, non-political organization that maintains New Orleans’s monuments, does not support the removal of any monuments, especially those that have stood for over a decade. The organization is not concerned with the negative meaning the statues have or what the statues represent to the people who see them; however, Take Em Down NOLA opposes the MTF cause.
According to its website, Take Em Down NOLA “demand[s] that the Mayor and City Council take immediate action to remove all monuments … dedicated to White Supremacists,” which continue “the horrid legacy of slavery that terrorized so many of this city’s ancestors.” With 60% of the New Orleans population being African-American, statues like that of Beauregard dehumanize and oppress a majority of the city’s population. Considering the fact the majority population is African-American, we feel that the public supports the removal of the Beauregard statue, and the many others like it.
New Orleanians are reminded of this negative history by paying taxes to maintain Confederate monuments. Therefore, we feel that these statutes should be removed by the city of New Orleans because of their representation of white supremacy and racism. In the words of Take ‘Em Down NOLA, “[These statues] misrepresent our community. We demand the freedom to live in a city where we are not forced to pay taxes for the maintenance of public symbols that demean us and psychologically terrorize us.”
Thaddius Coleman and Jhonny Vasquez are freshmen at New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School.