Confederate monuments have again received increased attention in the aftermath of George Floyd's tragic death in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2020. Momentum and shifting public opinion are working toward the removal of these problematic monuments across the country. This Article seeks to provide insight for monument-removal advocates: specifically focusing on the legal issues associated with the "death" or removal of these monuments, how property law shapes and defines these efforts, and briefly examining what happens to these statues after removal. Our exploration of Confederate monuments reveals that some removal efforts occur outside of legally created processes. Both public and private entities choose to remove monuments in the face of legal barriers that either bar or slow removal. This mismatch between law and action (particularly by public actors) should lead communities to question the laws designed to keep monuments in place and whose voices should be heard during these discussions. Communities must also seriously consider their obligations regarding these monumental legacies and ensure that their removal strategies effectively address the root issues and do not simply relocate the issue to another public forum or community.
Jessica Owley and Jess Phelps, The Life and Death of Confederate Monuments, 68 Buff. L. Rev. 1393 (2020).