As I looked through the lens of my camera in March of 1993, I saw the officer’s arms in a choke hold around the neck of State Representative Avery Alexander, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was a protest against the rededication ceremony of the controversial Liberty Monument, a stone obelisk honoring the White League Militia’s victory over a biracial police force in New Orleans in the 1874. Adding fuel to the fire was the attendance of former state legislator and Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. As a Confederate flag flew overhead, chants of “Racism must go” were answered by chants of “Jesse Jackson must go.” “The monument is a symbol of humiliation for black people all over this country. We can’t tolerate it. I’m out here because I’m opposed to racism, I’m opposed to slavery, I’m opposed to persecution,” Alexander was quoted as saying in a story written by reporter Mike Perlstein in the next day’s newspaper.
Well, Mr. Alexander, it only took 24 years, but today it is gone. Early this morning the monument was dismantled and hauled away. I hope you are smiling from heaven today.