(Photo: Jeff Turner | CC)
A local grassroots organization whose efforts contributed to the removal of several Confederate statues in New Orleans demanded the city also take down Andrew Jackson during a protest in Duncan Plaza on Thursday.
During a speech on the steps of City Hall, members of Take Em Down NOLA issued several demands, including the immediate release of a timeline for the removal of the Andrew Jackson statue in the French Quarter.
Other demands included abolishing police and having a community-led process of removing symbols considered to be white supremacist, including the names of schools, parks and street names.
Thursday morning’s rally was just one of several in the last week sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died on May 25 following a video-recorded encounter of a Minneapolis Police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
A person was shot shortly after 11:30 a.m. on the back side of the plaza as the rally occurred, although the shooting was unrelated, according to New Orleans Police.
For the last two weeks, protesters in dozens of states have taken to the streets demanding an end to racism, police brutality, inequality and economic injustice.
“We’re also talking about the ways in which symbolic white supremacist racism reflects itself inside of the system—the economic system and the social system that governs New Orleans,” one member said. “This is not a new conversation. This conversation has been in existence for at least a century since these monuments came up.
“We won’t get no satisfaction until we take down Andrew Jackson,” he said.
A video of the speech can be viewed here.
During the speech, a speaker labeled Jackson a “warmonger.”
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States and a slaveholder who opposed abolitionism.
Before becoming president, Jackson was a general and a politician who served in both houses of Congress. He led the United States to victory in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, which took place more than two weeks following the formal end to the War of 1812.
Following the battle, Jackson commanded U.S. troops in a series of skirmishes against the Seminole tribe in Northern Florida. After he became president, his administration forced the removal of 60,000 Native Americans from the southeastern U.S. to territory west of the Mississippi River in the Trail of Tears.
Jackson died in 1845 and a statue of him riding atop a horse was erected in 1856 in the square called Place d’Armes, which was renamed Jackson Square.
Take Em Down Nola was instrumental in the 2017 removal of four Confederate statues in New Orleans, including Lee, Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard and the Battle of Liberty Place Monument.
The movement to remove the statues began following the 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Instead, the group wants “revolutionary black and brown leaders” to replace the statues.
Thousands gather in Jackson Square to protest police brutality following George Floyd killing