I just started reading Mitch Landrieu’s In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History. Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans since 2010 whose term ends this May, shares his personal reflections about the city’s decision to take down four Confederate monuments last April. Landrieu began pushing for the monuments’ removal in 2015 after Dylann Roof massacred nine black Charleston churchgoers. The New Orleans City Council approved the move later that year.
The statues were removed at night; the contractors doing the work had to wear flak jackets and many received death threats. Landrieu recalls his difficulty in securing a crane – despite the prevalence of them throughout the city. Protests and celebrations both for and against the removal ensued.
In the prologue, Landrieu writes: “Race is America’s most traumatic issue, one that we have not nearly worked through. The true measure of a great county is the quality of justice it affords to all. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., insisted, “True peace…is the presence of justice.” It is a long rugged road for all people to find that peace, and our job is to stay on that path, even as we make progress.”
On this 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, let’s return to his words and vision for a country that truly believes in justice for all.
Here are my other posts about this day: