Confederate group instructed to remove Tuskegee statue, court records say

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 8:54 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:59 AM CST
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MACON COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Tuskegee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has 60 days to remove a controversial statue in the town square, according to a Macon County Circuit Court.

According to the order filed Thursday, the tract of property that was conveyed by deed from Macon County to the Tuskegee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy contained the following provision:

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD unto the Tuskegee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the purpose of maintaining a park for white people and maintaining a monument to the memory of the Confederate soldiers of Macon County, Alabama and upon the failure of the property to be used in said manner, the same shall revert to Macon County, Alabama, immediately, in fee simple.

According to Circuit Judge Steven Perryman, “there is no evidence to support that the property had been used as a park for white people,” and therefore, it must be given back to the county.

The chapter has been instructed to retrieve and remove the statue from the property within 60 days. However, the chapter could file an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.

“We’re particularly pleased today to be here today, to see something that’s worked out as had been indicated, and a very peaceful procedure went through the process,” Tuskegee Mayor Tony Haygood said. “It was done right. It was done legally. The judge made his ruling and all can recognize that we can move forward.”

The attorney for the Tuskegee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Attorney Jay Hinton, released the following statement on the order:

“Rather than discriminate as the County required in its deed, the Tuskegee Daughters have, for 115 years, made the Downtown Park open to all.  For this good behavior, they are now punished.  The County has taken the Chapter’s property because it would not discriminate.  Shameful.  It is wrong to discriminate against someone because of their race; it is equally wrong to take someone’s property because they won’t discriminate.  The court has enforced the racially restrictive covenant as requested by Macon County and her lawyers. To quote the County: “The land reverted automatically to the County when the Tuskegee Chapter failed to exclude non-whites from the area.” (Doc 116 p.15)  The Tuskegee Daughters think that is sad.”

The Macon County Commission filed the lawsuit against the Tuskegee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, asking a court to give it the deed to a downtown square where the memorial has stood for 115 years.

An attorney for the Tuskegee chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Jay Hinton, previously said the group owns the square legally and wants the monument to remain.

It has long been a source of controversy in the predominantly African American city. It has been the target of vandalism on multiple occasions and in decades past.

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