Responding to questions this morning on the NBC Today show, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said he received death threats in response to his order to take down a Confederate monument in the wake of destructive protests Sunday night.
“Unfortunately, in the state of Alabama, there’s a lot of people who like to participate in revisionist history,” Woodfin said, speaking with host Al Roker. “They believe it’s American to support the Civil War as relates to these Confederate monuments. They’re mad because we took the statue down and, yes, there have been several threats.
“But our security team is not only taking that serious as it relates to me and my protection but City Hall as well as the citizens of Birmingham’s protection as well,” the mayor continued. “I’ll tell you this, Al. It’s important to note that the city of Birmingham was not even a city during the Civil War, and we don’t have time to worry about something that’s not working for our city, and relegates black people to property and slavery. It’s important that we take this down and move forward. And we accomplished that yesterday.”
Roker noted that Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sued the City of Birmingham for removing the monument. He asked if Woodfin is willing to pay the likely $25,000 fine for that act. The mayor said he is willing to pay the fine.
“We’re in this position now with this civil unrest to pay this fine,” he said. “And as I stated earlier, it is probably better for our city to pay this civil fine than it is to have more civil unrest in our city.”
Birmingham was fined $25,000 in 2019 after officials erected a plywood wall around the monument.
Two GoFundMe accounts have already raised more than enough to cover the likely $25,000 fine that is expected as a result of Marshall’s lawsuit. Comedian Jermaine “FunnyMaine” Johnson said Monday night that his account had raised $31,000, and the group White Clergy for Black Lives Matter had raised more than $60,000 by Tuesday night.