Mayor who pulled Confederate statues honored with JFK award

Published 9:01 am Monday, May 21, 2018

BOSTON (AP) — The former mayor of New Orleans was honored Sunday night for his leadership in removing Confederate memorials in his city.

Mitch Landrieu was presented with the 2018 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for standing behind his decision to take down four monuments.

“As I stated when they were removed one year ago, to literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present and it is a bad prescription for our future,” Landrieu, a Democrat, said in his speech in Boston.

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The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation paid tribute to Landrieu for taking the action despite legal challenges and outright threats from those who insist the Confederacy is an important part of New Orleans’ heritage.

“This is what the fight over the monuments was really about. As much as it was about moving the stone and metal, it was about confronting — and then correcting — the very ideas and attitudes that allowed them to be erected in the first place,” Landrieu said.

President Kennedy’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, presented the award, saying Landrieu fits the mold of a profile in courage not just for what he did, but for how he did it.

“Despite facing intense criticism, heated political attacks and personal threats, he removed four confederate monuments from the public spaces in New Orleans,” Schlossberg said.

The award has been presented annually since 1989 to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for personal or professional consequences.