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Meet the Multiracial Defenders Of Confederate Memorials

African Americans and Native Americans are standing with the defenders of Confederate monuments in New Orleans. Photojournalist Abdul Aziz crossed the battle lines to find out why.

By Brentin Mock – May 1, 2017

Meet the Multiracial Defenders Of Confederate Memorials
Andrew Duncomb, self-described “Black Rebel,” came to New Orleans from Oklahoma to defend Confederate monuments. (Abdul Aziz)

Back in December 2015, the New Orleans city council voted to remove several Confederate monuments, but the city is only now getting around to dismantling them. Lawsuits from organizations seeking to preserve these white supremacist memorials jammed that process up, as did threats made to potential contractors. In March, the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals finalized orders to have the controversial monuments removed. The first monument—an obelisk dedicated to a massacre carried out by white supremacists to prevent racial integration during Reconstruction—was taken down in the wee hours of Monday, April 24.

The legal battle may be over, but the debate goes on. On one side is the network of local activists called Take ‘Em Down NOLA, which has been leading the movement to remove these monuments from public view. On the other side are the Confederate defenders who have been camped out in front of the monuments for almost a week. There are three more monuments scheduled to come down, but the city has halted activity while the popular JazzFest is happening. Things have gotten testy; this past weekend, as reports, “supporters and opponents of the monuments sparred beneath the statue of Jefferson Davis”—the next monument slated to come down.

New Orleans photojournalist Abdul Aziz was on hand to capture the fracas. However, he also spent some time getting to know the Confederate defenders themselves—a group that includes African Americans and Native Americans amongst its surprisingly diverse ranks. CityLab talked to Aziz to learn more about what he heard.

What’s striking about your photos is that you captured them in such civil light. Why was this important?

My objective here was just to tell the story from an objective standpoint, which is what I do. When I went to the Gaza Strip in 2013, I interviewed Hamas.

But my expectations were not to encounter as many people of color out there standing in support of the monuments. There were a couple of folks—native black New Orleanians—walking down the street who called the entire effort to bring them down stupid. “This is history,” they said. “You shouldn’t erase history.” This was a recurring theme from people of color, and that was a little startling for me.

Meet the Multiracial Defenders Of Confederate Memorials
Confederate monument supporter Thomas, from Austin, Texas (center, black coat), described himself as Lakota Sioux. (Abdul Aziz)

Read more at CITY LAB

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  1. Thank you Abdul Aziz for fair reporting. This story makes me proud. True Patriots come in many hues and many types. It’s a beautiful thing. I am totally opposed to re-writing history, which is exactly what this movement is.

    1. I agree with you, you took the words right out of my mouth,the civil war had nothing to do with slavery! the globaliest goal is to devide and conquer it is what they do best I`m not joken! look at what was done to the american indian native to this land and they cared so much for the freedom of black people as to invade 11/13 states at the same time and dieing & killing thier own people give me A brake there is somthing wrong with this picture ?! and the north had slave states at the same time, look at what they done to our (republic) Declaration of Independence, slavery was suppose to end the day it was sighned in Jan. 1777 read it & they did it to our Constitution this is tyranny & treason! ps watch the movie ”Josey Wales” A must see! & do A seach, Kevin check him out on face book A link to the globalist secrets & success! the movie “the outlaw Josey Wales” Kevin

  2. Heritage genocide is one of the “progressive” socialist goals. I’m glad people are standing against it.

    1. You are spot on 175gr Heritage genocide is a corner stone of the Marxist/Progressive philosophy. The Marxist throughout history have altered history to suit their goals. I hope we are seeing the rise of an anticommunist movement of all races, it will have staying power.

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