For Every Confederate Statue That Has Come Down in the United States, Ten Remain in Place
A new report gives insight into how many Confederate monuments and symbols have been removed, and where the largest number remains.
Based on the flurry of recent headlines announcing the triumphant removal of one statue after another dedicated to individuals with racist histories, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there might not be very many left. But newly analyzed data reveals a startling fact: for every one such statue taken down in the United States, 10 monuments or symbols remain in place, with the most in Virginia and Texas. States have removed or dismantled 190 Confederate symbols to date—but 1,700 are still standing.
A new study published on the data analytics website BeenVerified analyzed information from a 2019 survey by the Southern Poverty Law Center along with media reports from 2020 to determine how, where, and how quickly Confederate symbols have been removed across the United States.
In a statement to Artnet News, senior data analyst Brian Ross said that the project—a collaboration between a half-dozen analysts—”serves to amplify the incredible work of the SPLC, shine a light on the progress towards tearing down these totems to institutional racism, and provide a resource for ongoing updates.”
Because 95 percent of Confederate monuments and symbols have been removed post-2013, the charts use that year as a starting point. Clear inflection points are visible when social movements agitated for action. Following the mass shooting at a historically Black church in Charleston, carried out by white supremacist Dylann Roof, there was a considerable uptick in removals (from two in 2014 to 16 in 2015); in 2017, after the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally that turned deadly, the largest wave of removals took place (55).
The website also features an interactive map of the United States that shows how many symbols are still up in a given state, and what percentage has been removed. The states with the most remaining symbols are: Virginia, home to the former capital of the Confederacy (232), Texas (202), Georgia (198), South Carolina (194), North Carolina (160), Mississippi (147), Alabama (121), Tennessee (98), Louisiana (84) and Florida (62). It is also worth noting that there are Confederate monuments and symbols in Northern states, as well as in states that were only formed after the end of the Civil War.
The data also identifies the most popular subjects for this iconography. Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, and Jefferson Davis rank highly, as does Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
See more data visualizations below:
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