Mixed reaction to removal of Confederate plaques at the University of Alabama

Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at UA in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at UA in Tuscaloosa, Ala.(WBRC)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2020 at 4:53 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - University of Alabama System Board of Trustees announced Monday three Confederate plaques that honored former students who served in the Confederate Army were removed to be placed in a more appropriate historical setting.

But conversations whether that was the right thing to do could continue for some time.

On Tuesday, crews used heavy equipment to remove a huge piece of stone that once had a Confederate plaque attached to it.

That sight made Lee Albritton happy. “We are real pleased the Confederate monuments are not here, but all over, are being removed,” he said.

Albritton said his grandfather Joseph Neely Miller came to the University in 1865 as a 15-year-old cadet to protect the University of Alabama from Union troops during the Civil War.

One of the three plaques that honored cadets like Miller were removed before that stone was taken away.

“I grew up in the segregated south. So I know the evils of that. And the south fought the Civil War to keep slavery and he certainly would be totally against that. Some people think the plaques and stone should have been allowed to stay in place," said Albritton.

“We can’t crush everything from the past. A lot of it was wrong. Totally agree. But you need to move on. If you start crushing everything you don’t agree with the history of the United States and the world, then you have nothing to look back on, nothing to research history,” Dale Vandagriff expressed.

There is now a clear view in front of Gorgas Library with the historical marker gone.

"Alabama, we’ve come a ways. But we have a long way to go,” Albritton continued.

The names of several buildings on the UA campus are also under review because of the backgrounds of some of the people they are named after. A special committee of UA trustees will make a report with recommended changes that will be made before the Board of Trustees at a future public meeting.

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