Set in Stone? Predicting Confederate Monument Removal

Set in Stone? Predicting Confederate Monument Removal

By Andrea Benjamin, University of Oklahoma, Ray Block, Pennsylvania State University, Jared Clemons, Duke University, Chryl Laird, Bowdoin College, and Julian Wamble, Stony Brook College

Recent events have led to a renewed conversation surrounding the relevance and potential removal of Confederate monuments around the country, and several monuments have already been removed. However, we have little insight to explain why some monuments have been removed while others remain. This article seeks to understand the social and political determinants that can better explain the recent removal of Confederate monuments throughout the United States. Analyzing results from an original dataset of Confederate monuments, we identify which local government structures and racial and civic characteristics best predict the removal of these monuments. Ultimately, although we find that other factors contribute to monument removal, the size of the black population, the presence of a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter, and the percentage of Democrats in a county in which a monument exists—as well as whether the monument exists in a state that constrains removal by legislative decree—best predict whether a Confederate monument will be taken down. This project elucidates the interplay of race, partisanship, and local and statewide politics as it relates to the dismantling of Confederate monuments.

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