All that’s left of the Confederate memorial in downtown Birmingham’s Linn Park is a graffiti-covered base.
The obelisk was taken apart and loaded onto a flatbed truck Monday night, a day after it sparked protests and looting of nearby businesses.
Mayor Randall Woodfin promised to remove the monument by Tuesday to stop any more of the violent reactions like those seen Sunday night.
After a peaceful protest at Kelly Ingram Park over the May 25 death of Minneapolis man George Floyd at the hands of police officers, Jermaine “FunnyMaine” Johnson, a local comedian, told people he was headed to Linn Park on Sunday night to take down the statue. A crowd of several hundred convened.
After spray painting graffiti on the monument and taking out chunks with implements such as shovels, members of the crowd tried to topple the statue using cords and a truck. But bringing the statue down turned out to be a more difficult job than they expected.
It took a work crew three hours Monday night to take down the top third of the obelisk. By midnight, all of the obelisk was gone. All that sits there today is the monument’s base. It’s unclear what the city’s plans are for removing that portion.
Mayor Randall Woodfin went to Linn Park during the protest Sunday night. After Johnson, Woodfin and Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson talked for a few moments, Johnson asked the crowd to give the mayor 24 hours. He said that if the monument wasn’t gone by Tuesday, protestors would return.
He asked the crowd to disburse, and it slowly did, smashing windows, setting fires and looting a bit on its way out of downtown.
There was little in the way of protests as the dismantling of the Confederate monument began Monday night. Other than the media, only a few activists and downtown residents went to the park to watch history as the memorial was removed. Police officers flanked the area as work progressed.
Woodfin, who on Monday imposed a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, said this morning that a bomb threat had been called in on the monument Monday night and that 16 people had been arrested for a variety of reasons. But there was no damage to commercial or private property.
About half a dozen of those arrests were of activists who sat on the steps at the foot of the monument with signs that included slogans such as Black Lives Matter. They were quietly arrested for violating the curfew, but another activist assured them bail would be set immediately
The city remains under a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.