The city of Jackson, Mississippi, voted on Monday night to remove a statue of its namesake, Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, NBC News reported. Jackson is the second major city to remove a statue of the man for whom the city was named.
In a five to one vote, the city council enacted a plan to remove a statue that has stood in front of city hall for five decades. Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said that removing the statue will help “divorce” the name of the city from its namesake, whom he described as a “brutal” slave owner with a legacy of infamy extending beyond just the fact that he owned slaves. Specifically, Jackson also authorized the Indian Removal Act, which forced thousands of Native Americans off their ancestral homelands and required them to march along the Trail of Tears. An untold number died along the journey.
“While removing a statue does little to change our condition as oppressed people, we should not have to constantly encounter the likenesses of those who profited off of the blood, sweat, & despair of our ancestors or see them immortalized as honorable,” Lumumba said in a statement.
Lumumba also noted that he believes the statue should be replaced with one of Medgar Evers, the Black voting rights activist who was killed in the city.
The one council member to vote against the removal of the statue was Ashby Foote. He told The Clarion-Ledger that he generally doesn’t support removing historical monuments.
“We need to understand our history, not tear it down,” Foote said.
For now, there’s no immediate timetable for when the statue will be removed, with Councilman Melvin Priester noting that it won’t be coming down immediately. He noted that the city will likely have to do some research about where to put the statue. Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay said it would likely go to a museum.
Though the city is removing the statue of its namesake, it is still named “Jackson.” Lumumba doesn’t seem to have a problem with that.
“When I took office, I found out the name Jackson means ‘God has shown favor.’ So, we want to reclaim the name of our city,” he said.
Jackson is the second major U.S. city to remove a statue of the man for whom it was named. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the city of Columbus, Ohio, voted to remove a statue of its namesake, citing Christopher Columbus’ legacy, which some believe led to the genocide of millions of Native Americans. The city’s name remains, however.