NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Community activist Malcolm Suber believes tearing down the Andrew Jackson statue in the heart of Jackson Square and the French Quarter is an act of civil rights.
“We want every white supremacy monument in this city taken down,” he says.
Suber is a coordinator of the group Take Em Down NOLA, which is planning a march this Saturday (September 24). It will start in Congo Square and end in Jackson Square, possibly with marchers using ropes to remove the statue dedicated to the seventh U.S. President and the hero of the Battle of New Orleans.
“We think that this is the will of the people,” says Suber. “And if there are thousands of people out there with us, thousands of hands on those ropes, we will actually take it down.”
If Suber and the Take Em Down NOLA marchers succeed in removing the Andrew Jackson statue, they will be one step and several months ahead of the City of New Orleans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an ordinance in December of last year (2015) calling for the “relocation” of four monuments dedicated to Confederate heroes. Presently, all four of those monuments are still standing, thanks to an order by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Andrew Jackson statue is not one of the monuments on the city’s relocation list. But, Suber says it–and dozens of other statues–should be.
“We asked for all statues to white supremacy [be taken down] –not just four,” says Suber.
In the case of Andrew Jackson, Suber points to the U.S. Treasury’s decision to replace Jackson on the front of the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman. He uses that as evidence Jackson should also not be placed on a pedestal in the middle of the French Quarter.
“We think it would be appropriate for us to join the national sentiment that Jackson deserves no adoration,” explains Suber. “Jackson is the architect of the Trail of Tears, was a big slaveholder, and, we don’t think he deserves any public display.”
Suber has other plans for a Jackson Square without Jackson. He adds: “We want to change the name of Jackson Square to Freedom Square. And, maybe we will put a statue of Harriet Tubman there.”
The Take Em Down NOLA march is Saturday, September 24, at 1 p.m. in Congo Square.