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NAACP, Community Leaders Call For Removal Of Arizona Confederate Monuments

NAACP monument removal
(Photo courtesy of East Valley NAACP)
(From left) Cloves Campbell, Roy Tatem Jr., Ann Hart, Reginald Walton and Reginald Bolding called for the removal of public Arizona Confederate monuments.

African-American leaders in Arizona are calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to remove public Confederate monuments.

“Taxpayers are paying for the wellness and maintenance of these monuments highways and statues,” said Rep. Reginald Bolding Jr. “I don’t have a choice whether or not my tax dollars go to promoting symbols of hatred.”

The Monday press conference was organized by the East Valley NAACP and held at the offices of The Arizona Informant, a historically black publication. 

“If we continue to look at monuments and what they stand for, why are we memorializing something that’s wrong,” publisher Cloves Campbell Jr. said.

The NAACP points to six public monuments in the state:

  • Arizona Confederate Veterans Monument in Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix.
  • Confederate Veterans Monument in Wesley Bolin Memorial Park at the state Capitol.
  • Confederate Memorial in the Historical Soldiers Memorial Cemetery area of the Southern Arizona Veterans’ Cemetery in Sierra Vista.
  • Jefferson Davis Highway, U.S. Highway 60 at Peralta Road, Apache Junction.
  • Battle of Picacho Peak Marker dedicated to Capt. Sherod Hunter’s Arizona Rangers, Arizona Volunteers C.S.A.” (Confederate States of America)
  • Monument at the four graves of the only Confederate soldiers killed in action in Arizona, Dragoon Springs stagecoach station east of Tucson.

“To many African-Americans, the Confederate flag is a symbol of racial terrorism,” said NAACP Maricopa County President Ann Hart. “It represents the battle fought over the enslavement of black people. It is a symbol of resistance to the civil rights of African-Americans.”  

The group hopes Arizona will follow in the footsteps of cities such as Louisiana that recently removed four public monuments to the Confederacy.

Supporters said the monuments, while markers of historical events, symbolize hatred and racism.

“Our investment probably should be in the education of the civil war and probably civil rights,” said East Valley NAACP President Roy Tatem Jr.

Two years ago, Bolding was part of a movement calling for the removal of Arizona’s memorial to Jefferson Davis.

“We’ve called on the governor,” Bolding said. “What he gave us was lip service at the time, and we hope that we can get action today.”

An inquiry to Ducey’s office has not been answered as of Monday afternoon.

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Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.