Attorney General Steve Marshall announced this afternoon the city of Mobile violated state law by removing the statue of Confederate Adm. Raphael Semmes from its pedestal near the intersection of Government and Royal streets June 4 and has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine.
The statue, which was taken down on Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s orders June 4, has been moved to the History Museum of Mobile. In a statement Sunday, Stimpson said the statue was moved from storage in a city facility to the museum over the weekend.
“The museum staff received the statue and will develop a plan to protect, preserve and display it within the museum,” the statement read.
Marshall said, “now that the city has acknowledged its intent to remove the monument permanently, the facts surrounding the removal and a plain reading of the law led me to determine that the [Memorial Preservation Act] was violated. After being notified of that determination, the city has agreed to pay the required fine of $25,000 without a court order.”
History Museum of Mobile Director Meg McCrummen Fowler wrote in an email the statue would not be on display immediately, due to required conservation work and the creation of interpretive materials related to it.
“We haven’t determined a definite location yet: deciding where and how the statue is displayed will be a careful, deliberate, and collaborative process,” she wrote. “Museums afford the opportunity to contextualize the history of both the subject and the monument itself. Ultimately, we want to create a space that allows for productive, community-oriented conversations about our shared history.”
In the statement, Stimpson said he believes the statue is in the correct hands.
“I am confident that the museum staff will not only preserve the statue but place it into the appropriate historic context,” the statement reads. “We are grateful for their partnership.”
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