Two Alabama senators want to divert part of a statewide property tax tied to the preservation of a Confederate park to preserve and promote Black history in the state.
Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss and Democrat Sen. Bobby Singleton will sponsor a bill this year that will use 1% of the tax revenue used to preserve a Confederate park to preserve Black historical sites as well, according to the Star Tribune.
The tax was imposed to fund pensions for Confederate soldiers and their widows after the Civil War and the state still collects the tax today. The majority of the tax revenue goes to other causes today, but 1% of the revenue is still used to preserve and operate the state’s Confederate Memorial Park.
Chambliss said the change would lead to more than $500,000 a year to promote Black history and preserve Black historical sites.
“It is imperative that we remember all of our history and learn from both the good and the bad,” Chambliss told the Tribune. “I will continue working with all that want to share my love of history, to protect, enhance and restore symbols that will help us avoid the mistakes of the past and move our state forward in a positive direction.”
Nearly 100 Confederate statues, monuments, and plaques have been removed since last summer as the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor led to a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for racial equity.
Lawmakers in the past have tried to shut down the park’s funding, but all attempts have been unsuccessful. The last Civil War Confederate veteran died in 1934. The park was established almost 30 years later in 1964. The park was seen by many as a sign of resistance to the civil rights movement by the state government.
Last year, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin had the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument removed after residents and protestors covered it in red paint, spray paint, chipped the base with rocks, and tried to bring down the 52-foot statue with a thick rope.