A lawsuit has been filed against a Confederate statue in predominantly black Tuskegee | Regional
TUSKEGEE, Alabama (AP) – A lawsuit has been filed that could decide the fate of a Confederate monument that has stood in a plaza in the center of Tuskegee almost entirely black for 115 years.
WSFA-TV reported that the Macon County Commission has filed a lawsuit against the local and state branches of the United Daughters of Confederation, arguing that the county owns the property where the statue is located and wants title to the land.
While records show the county donated the land to the Confederate Heritage Group for use as a park for whites in 1906, the lawsuit argues that the property belongs to the county because the county’s action was illegal.
The county, which was joined in the lawsuit by three black residents, said it was ready to negotiate with the Daughters of Confederation. If someone comes forward, they can sit down and give the statue to the group.
The statue has been the subject of periodic protests for decades in Tuskegee, which is almost entirely black and is home to Tuskegee University. The country’s first black military pilots trained in the city during World War II.
Protesters tried unsuccessfully to demolish the monument in the 1960s, and it was the target of vandals and community opposition for years. In July, city council member Johnny Ford and another man used a power saw to cut the statue, but the damage was later repaired by a crew hired by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The group has not commented publicly on the lawsuit, filed on September 1, and court records do not show a lawyer representing the local or national chapter of the heritage group.
Fred Gray, a longtime civil rights lawyer who filed the lawsuit, said officials were trying to find members of the Tuskegee chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Only one member, who resides in the city of Elba, Alabama, has been located, he said.
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