Monuments to Carolinas’ native Andrew Jackson targeted by New Orleans activists

Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter.
Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter. John Wilhelm

The Carolinas’ beloved native son, President Andrew Jackson, is in the cross hairs of the same New Orleans activists who successfully fought for the removal of four of the city’s Confederate monuments.

Take ‘Em Down NOLA says the city’s internationally famous Jackson Square should be renamed and Jackson’s equestrian statue removed – as quickly as possible. Their reasoning is that Jackson, who was born outside Charlotte in the Union County area, is among about a half dozen former presidents who owned slaves.

“We believe that four (Confederate) monuments is a menial offering when the city is littered with over 100 other monuments, public spaces, school names and street names named after prominent White Supremacists,” says the group, who recently staged a press conference about their new offensive.

Jackson Square is a 2.5-acre National Historic Landmark in the city’s French Quarter and the site where in 1803 Louisiana was made a United States territory pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase. It is one of the city’s best known landmarks.

Take ‘Em Down NOLA says their campaign is a common sense effort to cleanse the city of “racist symbols.” Critics liken it to political correctness run a muck and digging up grave stones.

Support for the plan is apparently spreading, as suggested by a recent letter published in the Los Angeles Times.

The most famous monument in New Orleans is a statue of Andrew Jackson, the president and general who enslaved men, women and children of African descent and was responsible for the shameful Trail of Tears displacement of Native Americans,” wrote Rob Aft in the Times.

“We cannot move forward to address racial issues in this country while celebrating slave owners and those responsible for Native American genocide with monuments, holidays and portraits on our currency.”

New Orleans’ mayor, Mitch Landrieu, has not taken the same high-profile stand against Jackson’s monument as he did with the city’s Confederate monuments. However, some critics say he opened a Pandora’s box that may be tough to close as the Take ‘Em Down NOLA campaign continues.

Jackson has multiple statues in his honor in the Carolinas, including on the grounds of the North Carolina Capitol in Raleigh. He also has a 360-acre park named in his honor just outside of Charlotte in Lancaster County, S.C.

The Times-Picayune in New Orleans is predicting the group will fail in its effort to rename Jackson Square.

“Yes, Jackson owned as many as 300 slaves over this lifetime and his brutal policies for forcibly removing American Indians from their native lands in the east...led to the infamous and tragic ‘Trail of Tears,’” reported the Times-Picayune.

“But none of that is being celebrated by his statue in Jackson Square. The monument...commemorates his very real role as ‘The Hero of New Orleans,’ in defending the city against a British invasion in 1815...If that’s not worth a monument in the city, I don’t know what is.”