For a Civil Rights Hero, 90, a New Battle Unfolds on His Childhood Avenue

In January 2019, the Jefferson Circuit Court docket dominated in favor of town, arguing that the state legislation violated a municipality’s proper to free speech. That fall, nonetheless, the Alabama Supreme Court docket unanimously reversed that ruling, successfully ending authorized challenges to the act on the state degree.

However, a rising variety of native officers have proved keen to interrupt the legislation and pay the $25,000 penalty. In Birmingham, the Democratic Mayor Randall Woodfin ordered the elimination of the Troopers and Sailors monument one week after the killing of George Floyd in Might. He argued that the fantastic was less expensive than continued civil unrest.

In Lowndes County, whose inhabitants is nearly 75 % African-American, county commissioners voted unanimously this 12 months to take away a Accomplice memorial that for many years stood in entrance of the courthouse in Hayneville. “I knew we have been breaking the legislation, however I simply thought it was one thing we needed to do,” mentioned Dickson Farrior, 72, the commissioner who first pushed to take away the monument. “It represented white supremacy, and we don’t want that.”

Mr. Farrior, who’s certainly one of two white males on the fee and has represented his district since 1985, mentioned the county arrange a GoFundMe web page to assist pay the fantastic, however was pleasantly shocked when an area couple volunteered to cowl the $25,000 themselves.

“I don’t know whether or not the Legislature had in thoughts that, in impact, you possibly can pay to alter your monuments,” mentioned Paul Horwitz, a professor on the College of Alabama College of Legislation.

Nonetheless, Mr. Horwitz mentioned, a drumbeat of actions like Mr. Reed’s and Mr. Farrior’s might add a layer of stress for legislators to rethink the act — or not less than “amend it in a method that permits for extra public dialogue.”

At a minimal, the state can probably anticipate extra challenges from Mr. Reed, who just lately shaped a committee of historians and group leaders to assessment the names of different public areas throughout Montgomery.

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