NAACP slams Alabama governor's campaign ad about law protecting Confederate monuments

The Alabama chapter of the NAACP is clashing with Gov. Kay Ivey over a campaign ad in which she celebrates the Memorial Preservation Act.

Posted: Apr 21, 2018 9:37 PM

(CNN) -- The Alabama chapter of the NAACP is clashing with Gov. Kay Ivey over a campaign ad in which she celebrates the Memorial Preservation Act, a law she signed last May that critics say protects the state's Confederate monuments.

The group has denounced the campaign ad, saying Ivey shouldn't be proud of the act, or use it to get votes.

"We're upset about her using this campaign ad to attract voters to tell people why they should vote for her," said Benard Simelton, the president of the Alabama NAACP. The group spoke out against Ivey and the state legislature when the act was passed, he said, "but we weren't surprised, if you know what I'm saying."

The law's detractors have said it's a thinly veiled effort to protect Alabama's Confederate monuments at a time when other states and cities, like New Orleans, have moved to take theirs down.

'Politically correct nonsense'

Ivey's campaign released the ad on Tuesday.

"Up in Washington, they always know better," Ivey says at the opening of the ad, as images of different monuments across the state fade in and out. "Politically correct nonsense, I say."

Ivey says she's proud of signing the law, saying she stood up to "special interests" who wanted to take down monuments.

"We can't change or erase our history," Ivey says, "but here in Alabama, we know something Washington doesn't."

"To get where we're going means understanding where we've been."

Ivey -- who's only been in office for about a year, taking over after Gov. Robert Bentley's ouster -- signed the Memorial Preservation Act 11 months ago. The law stops local governments from removing, renaming or altering monuments, memorial streets and significant buildings that have been on public property for more than 40 years.

The bill also created the Committee on Alabama Monument Protection, which is responsible for giving the green light to proposed modifications to monuments or memorials.

Ivey's office said at the time that the law's goal was preserving history "for all generations to learn not only from our heroes and our greatest achievements, but to also ensure that we learn from our mistakes and our darkest hours."

According to a 2016 tally by the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 48 Confederate monuments on public property throughout Alabama.

Ad includes memorial to battle for civil rights

At the time the bill was passed, state Sen. Hank Sanders, a Democrat from Selma, said it was "clearly" meant to protect Confederate memorials and monuments and honor the memory of white supremacists.

But the law's supporters have said it's inclusive to all monuments, not just Confederate ones. Ivey's campaign appears to try to illustrate this in the ad -- of the three monuments shown, one is a memorial and mural that sits near the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, commemorating the chapter of the civil rights struggle that unfolded there.

"She used that to try and say that (the act) is all-inclusive -- that she's preserving all monuments regardless of if it's African-American or the Confederacy," the NAACP's Simelton told CNN. "I think it's a travesty that she would use something like that and use that memorial and put it in the same ad with the Confederate monuments. That's two totally different things."

Alabama 'not moving forward,' critic says

Simelton told CNN the ad shows Ivey's "lack of concern for all Alabamians." The African-American community in Alabama wants to see those monuments taken down and put in a museum, instead of adorning public property.

"They don't represent this state," he said. "They don't represent this country or what we should stand for or what we should be standing for."

Reached for comment Friday, an Ivey campaign spokesperson told CNN, "Our ad highlights a law that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor to protect all of our historical monuments. We can't -- and we shouldn't -- change, erase or tear down history. We should learn from all of it."

But Simelton says he doesn't believe leaving the Confederate monuments in place helps the state. Instead, it shows that Alabama is stuck in the past.

"It reflects that Alabama still is not moving forward to being an inclusive state," he said. "We are still trying to be a divisive state."

Simelton noted that the Alabama conference of the NAACP sent a letter to Ivey last August, asking her to denounce white supremacist groups in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and meet with the group to discuss forming a commission to examine race relations in the state. But her staff said she wasn't interested in meeting on that issue, Simelton said.

"The impression that I got was that she didn't think it was an issue in the state of Alabama," Simelton said.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 41°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 43°
Decatur
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 42°
Fort Payne
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 48°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 779449

Reported Deaths: 11501
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby876181509
Davidson81809871
Knox46250587
Hamilton40539463
Rutherford38563386
Williamson25382204
Sumner21448318
Montgomery17484213
Out of TN1706694
Wilson16510211
Unassigned15772127
Sullivan14431274
Blount14141183
Bradley12996141
Washington12818234
Maury12246163
Sevier12109164
Putnam10635170
Madison10123230
Robertson8997121
Hamblen8063165
Anderson8044158
Greene7309145
Tipton6962103
Coffee6418115
Dickson6256106
Gibson6196141
Cumberland6127122
Carter5990155
McMinn594592
Roane592696
Bedford5816120
Loudon571966
Jefferson5688119
Lawrence557483
Monroe536590
Warren532576
Hawkins527195
Dyer5242101
Franklin475785
Fayette468372
Obion436995
Lincoln415662
Rhea415273
Cocke401295
Cheatham394544
Marshall391956
Campbell381859
Weakley379359
Giles375297
Henderson362273
Carroll349181
White339366
Hardeman338864
Macon337273
Hardin331563
Lauderdale309642
Henry301275
Marion294744
Scott288144
Wayne287630
Overton285557
Claiborne283069
McNairy268353
Hickman266541
DeKalb266151
Haywood264960
Smith256936
Grainger244246
Trousdale239822
Morgan230338
Fentress229544
Johnson217138
Chester202348
Bledsoe201010
Crockett197547
Unicoi181447
Polk177722
Cannon176730
Union173033
Grundy169730
Lake167926
Sequatchie157327
Humphreys154921
Decatur153837
Benton151039
Lewis147425
Meigs126722
Jackson125634
Stewart124025
Clay107130
Houston103632
Perry103527
Moore94516
Van Buren79720
Pickett74623
Hancock49712

Community Events