Crews move Confederate monument to Maple Hill Cemetery

Huntsville

Just after 7 a.m. Friday, crews began installing the Confederate monument at its new home in the Confederate section of Maple Hill Cemetery.

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — A Confederate memorial monument on the county courthouse property in downtown Huntsville was taken down early Friday morning. Work began around midnight and the soldier was down by 2 a.m.

In an interview Monday, County Commissioner Roger Jones said it was his understanding that the monument would be removed from the courthouse this week and moved to the area of Maple Hill Cemetery where Confederate soldiers are buried. A concrete slab has recently been poured there.

Confederate monument at its new home in Maple Hill Cemetery

After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year, protesters locally renewed calls for the monument to be removed from courthouse grounds.

The monument was vandalized in August.

In a statement sent to News 19 early Friday morning, Madison County Commissioner JesHenry Malone said the removal followed state law.

“Madison County is lauded by many as one of the most economically diverse and progressive communities in the State of Alabama. While we are not a perfect people, our community continues to strive towards success by working through challenges and developing the best possible outcomes which make our community stronger. During the global pandemic, COVID-19, Madison County continues to be a community that others want to emulate. However, continual improvement towards success remains a top priority.

In June 2020, I offered a resolution to the Madison County Commission, which passed unanimously, requesting the removal and relocation of the Confederate Monument that stands outside of our Madison County Courthouse. The discussion to remove this visible vestige began internally months before the tragic death of George Floyd Jr. With the unanimous consent of my fellow commissioners, the process to legally remove the Confederate monument began. The first step was to submit an application to the Alabama Historical Monument Preservation Committee. That application we submitted. A response we not received within the outlined response period. The staff of the Madison County Commission executed the plan outlined in my June 2020 resolution for the legal removal of the Confederate Monument.

While I have listened to and appreciate greatly public comment, I must remind us that every previous attempt at statue removal has been unsuccessful. Although this timeline and process may not have been as swift as many would have liked, it was the legal manner in which to get this accomplished. We know that government can be bureaucratic at times and often slower than what we would prefer, but we had no desire to violate our oaths of office to appease public sentiment. I received three letters in opposition to its removal. It was during this time that I remained focused on the forest and not the trees.

Today is a monumental day. Many will celebrate the removal of this statue and others will not. I will not mark this as a day of celebration but rather a day for continued growth and healing. It is now up to us as a community to determine how we further bloom. We can do this – we are Madison County – Alabama’s progressive beacon of light.

Madison County District Six Commissioner JesHenry Malone

The City of Huntsville said the move was done overnight to reduce impact on businesses and traffic.

The City of Huntsville, at the request of the Madison County Commission, is in the process of relocating the monument of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan from the Madison County Courthouse to a site near the Confederate burial section at Maple Hill Cemetery.

Madison County Commissioners have been working since June to find a lawful way to move the statue. Mayor Tommy Battle and the Huntsville City Council offered the City’s assistance to secure a suitable location and presented a historic area in the cemetery as an alternative where many Civil War soldiers are buried.

Commission Chair Dale Strong recently informed the City he believed the County had found a legal path forward to move the statue. 

The City of Huntsville prepared a site for the monument and retained a contractor and crane operator to assist with the move. 

“We started mobilizing overnight to make as much progress as possible before businesses opened in the morning and traffic resumed,” said City Administrator John Hamilton. “We hope to complete the move in one day, but our primary focus is on safely and securely moving the monument.”

City of Huntsville

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