Group calls for removal of Confederate symbols from Old Town

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A group of state lawmakers and community leaders is calling for symbols of the Confederacy to come down in Old Town Plaza.

“I was shocked to learn that we have a Confederate flag right there, we have confederate plaques honoring the confederate cause,” said state Sen. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuqerque.

You may have strolled by countless times without even noticing them, but Old Town Plaza is filled with plenty of references to Confederate battles and soldiers. Plaques, at least one of which has been here since 1982, cannons and the first Confederate flag, used before the one we’re most familiar with, even flies above. They are sights that some say make them uncomfortable.

“I don’t want to see it up on the flagpole, I want to see the Texas flag at home and up here I want to see the New Mexico flag, that’s all we need,” said Dallas resident Bob White.

“South Carolina was the state that fired the first shots in the civil war, they took down their flag in their capital, yet here in Albuquerque we’re still flying ours, how does that make any sense whatsoever”, said Albuquerque resident Rhia “Shorty” Johns.

It’s a sentiment elder Michael Jefferson of Procession Ministry and other community leaders share.

“To allow those monuments to be here gives a continuation of the ideology of white supremacy,” said Jefferson.

That’s why this group is calling for their removal. They say the items don’t need to be destroyed but should be in a museum instead, not front and center in one of Albuquerque’s most visited places.

Jefferson said, “If we have to preserve the history then let’s preserve it in an appropriate venue.”

Some say it’s time to put the past where it belongs.

“That time is over, we’ve all moved on, we all need to live together, that’s how I look at it, you know, it just needs to go away,” said Johns.

KRQE News 13 did speak to a few people off camera that said they don’t mind the symbols and think they should stay, but none of them wanted to share their thoughts on camera.

This group says they believe the city has the authority to remove these items if they want to. News 13 reached out to the city’s Cultural Services Department Sunday but did not hear back from them in time for this story.

The mayor’s offices is expected to weigh in on the controversy.

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