Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Pranksters stole historic Confederate monument and threatened to "turn it into a toilet"

A Civil War reenactment. 
A Civil War reenactment. 
Photo: John Moore (Getty Images)

As recently reported by The New York Times and other outlets, last month a “heavy, ornately carved limestone chair” memorial to Confederate President Jefferson Davis was stolen from Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Alabama. The heist was pulled off by anonymous individuals calling themselves White Lies Matter.

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“The Jefferson Davis Chair is in our possession!” reads a mock-tattered ransom note delivered to AL.com last week. For the chair’s return, “White Lies Matter, Inc.” demanded that a banner featuring a quote attributed to Black Liberation Army activist, Assata Shakur, hang for 24-hours from the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Richmond, Virginia, headquarters beginning last Friday, April 9. The date marks the anniversary of Jefferson’s surrender to Union leaders at Appomattox. “Failure to surrender to this request by the aforementioned time will result in the chair being carved into a toilet. See enclosed photograph,” the ransom continues.

The banner, which would have read “The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives,” unfortunately never hung from the United Daughters’ headquarters. After being MIA for weeks, the treasonous slaveowner’s grotesque monument was recovered in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward neighborhood, and is reportedly being returned to the Daughters. Two local residents were arrested in potential connection to the badass totally reckless prank, and NOPD are still searching for a third alleged accomplice.

“The United Daughters of the Confederacy was not going to bow to extortion,” Pat Godwin, Selma’s United Daughters’ chapter president, told NYT (presumably in exactly the kind of haughty tone you’re imagining right now). They also bemoaned that it was only “the pressure from the New Orleans police that brought these people to light...It didn’t have anything to do with them recanting their intentions about turning the chair into a toilet.”

A rare, historically accurate moment of donut respite captured near a Civil War battlefield.
A rare, historically accurate moment of donut respite captured near a Civil War battlefield.
Photo: John Moore (Getty Images)

According to Michael Kennedy, a lawyer representing one of the accused, each person currently faces one count of possession of stolen goods, which police somehow value at $500,000. “Based upon the value as reported by NOPD, they would technically be facing up to 20 years in prison,” Kennedy wrote us in an email, while making sure to note “they are not charged with actually stealing this item, merely at some point having been in possession of it...[and] I have not seen any paperwork that actually establishes the value reported by NOPD.”

Kennedy maintains their clients’ innocence, and when asked if he could supply White Lies Matter’s badass promo images sent to AL.com, he responded, “Unfortunately, at this stage of proceedings I have obviously not been supplied discovery on this matter and as such do not have access to the photos at this time.” Which is a shame, because you really should head over to AL.com to see the impressive handiwork of White Lies Matter (whoever they may be).

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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).