A Black Alabama man, who claims he was adopted by a white family, joined his fellow group members on Wednesday to counter-protest an activist group calling for the removal of a Confederate monument in front of the Marshall County courthouse.
Speaking to WHNT, Daniel Sims, a member of the Captain John Rayburn Camp 452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Black man in question, was adamant the monuments should stay put.
“Regardless of how the next person feels, I’m not going to take my flag down. If I got anything to do with it, ain’t no monument going to come down,” he said.
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According to Sims, he was adopted by a white family when he was three years old and his white grandfather fought in the civil war. That is, however, unlikely as the war ended in April 1865.
“My whole family’s white,” he said. “I went to all-white school. Grew up in an all-white neighborhood. My grandfather was white and he was the main one that fought in this war here, and he’s taught me everything I know.”
Prior to marching to the site, Say Their Names Alabama, the activist group calling for the removal of the Confederate monument and flag outside the Albertville courthouse as well as the Confederate statue outside the Guntersville courthouse, argued their case before commissioners during their bi-weekly meeting, WHNT reports.
“The rebel flag does not represent all Americans so it should not be at a place where all Americans in the county come, which is the courthouse. So, it is out of place and it has been out of place since they placed it here in 2005,” Unique Dunston, the leader of the group, said. The monument in question initially stood at the county’s old railroad depot in 1996 before it was later relocated to the Albertville courthouse in 2005.
Sims, however, said he does not understand why people want the monuments removed after all these years when no one initially had any problems with them. Calls for the removal of confederate monuments and symbols at public places have increased nationwide following the death of George Floyd, with activists arguing they propagate white supremacy.
“Why do people have a problem with it now?” Sims asked. “People want monuments moved now when they didn’t care just 15 or 20 years ago. I just hope things get back to normal soon.”
Dunston told WHNT they’re open to the monuments being relocated to a neighborhood cemetery or museum.
“As ugly and hateful the Confederacy was, it is our history, so I think it a compromise that we’re willing to make to relocate it to somewhere that doesn’t stand for justice as our courthouses do,” Dunston said.
Sims isn’t open to that either, saying: “It may make my blood boil if they just come up here and feel like they can just tear it down. I don’t see me still living if they do that right there. That monument ain’t hurting nobody. That monument ain’t killing a soul. It’s ain’t talking bad to nobody. It’s ain’t even racist.”
The news of Sims’ stance on the removal or relocation of the monuments got social media users comparing him to Clayton Bigsby, a blind white supremacist fictional character who has no idea he is Black. Bigsby was created and portrayed by comedian, Dave Chappelle, and featured in a sketch on his Chappelle’s Show.