Mobile mayor orders transfer of Admiral Semmes statue to history museum

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mayor Sandy Stimpson tweeted the new location of the Admiral Raphael Semmes statue Sunday afternoon.

Mayor Stimpson said on June 13, 2020 he ordered the statue of Semmes to be removed from storage in a city facility and transferred to the History Museum of Mobile. The task was completed on June 14, 2020. The museum staff is developing a plan to protect, preserve, and display the statue within the museum.

Here’s a formal statement from Mayor Stimpson:

This step was taken following extensive research by a team of lawyers, historians and city officials. This included conversations with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office as well as members of the Mobile City Council and others with a vested interest in the statue.

We believe this action to be consistent with the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. If the Attorney General determines otherwise, we will respect his decision and stand ready to work with his office.

I have no doubt that moving the statue from public display was the right thing to do for our community going forward. The values represented by this monument a century ago are not the values of Mobile in 2020.

Since moving the statue on June 5 we have received extensive feedback from citizens and from people far beyond our city and state.

I am confident that the museum staff will not only preserve the statue but place it into the appropriate historic context. We are grateful for their partnership.

As a community, we should strive to understand the characters, culture and circumstances that have shaped Mobile and brought us to this crucial moment.

And while we learn from our past, we should not allow the decisions of yesterday to cloud a bright tomorrow for our children.

Over 300 years, there are chapters of darkness and light that weave together to form the Mobile story. The most important chapter is the one we write next.

News 5 asked if an agreement was reached with the Attorney General to avoid being fined for the removal of the statue. They say they’re in “active conversation” but, ultimately the decision will be that of the Attorney General’s office.

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