But after the 2015 shooting, many city officials did begin to remove them. Most famously, the mayors of New Orleans and Baltimore removed every confederate monument in their cities in 2017. After the shooting in Charleston in 2015, 114 Confederate statues were removed nationwide according to the SPLC.
“It’s not just that the statues represent white supremacy, but the purpose of building the statues was the perpetuation of white supremacy,” James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, tells TIME. “This is why they put them up in the first place; to affirm the centrality of white supremacy to Southern culture.”