Life imitated art after an unexpected Confederate flag defender reminded social media users of a throwback “Chapelle’s Show” character.
Like in other cities across the United States, Albertville, Alabama, citizens are fighting over a Confederate monument. The monument is in front of the courthouse and prominently features the Confederate flag and a solider in a gray uniform.
Activist group Say Their Names Alabama organized a protest in front of the courthouse on Wednesday, reported WAFF. There were protesters from both sides including Daniel Sims, a Black man who wants the statue to stay.
“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,” Sims told WHNT.
Sims is a member of Captain John Rayburn Camp 452 Sons of Confederate Veterans and was adopted by a white family when he was 3 years old.
“My whole family’s white,” Sims continued. “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.” Sims
Sims’ stance was surprising to social media users. Many of them compared him to Clayton Bigsby, a Black and blind white supremacist portrayed by comedian Dave Chappelle on “Chappelle’s Show” in the early aughts.
“Wait until @DaveChappelle sees CLAYTON BIGSBY is an actual real live mfer,” tweeted one person.
“Whoever had real life Clayton Bigsby making showing up in 2020 Disaster Bingo come collect your winnings!” joked another commenter.
“Someone find @DaveChappelle and crown him a God cos ain’t no way he saw this far into the future!” suggested another.
“OMFG it is Clayton Bigsby…and his whole family are white Confederates? Gee, I wonder who was doing all the “chores” in that household,” wrote an additional viewer.
Others were confused about how Sims’ grandfather could have been in the Civil War, which ended in April 1865.
“Says grandpa ‘fought in the civil war.’ So, let’s see,” wrote one person. “Civil war ended in 1865. Let’s say, to be charitable, his grandpa was a drummer boy type and only 15. So, born in 1850 ish. 100 years old by 1950. So, this guy would have to be at least in his 70s to have even met grandpa.”
“Did he say that his Grandfather that taught him everything he knows fought in the civil war? Must have been about 170 years old when he was teaching him,” pointed out another.
There do not appear to be any official plans to remove or relocate the monument, which was erected in 1996. Sims doesn’t see why the statue is a problem since the monument has been at the courthouse for a while.
“Why do people have a problem with it now?” he 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.”
Unique Dunston, leader of Say Their Names Alabama, believes removing the monument from the courthouse would be a sign of progress. During this week’s protest, she quoted pro-slavery Confederate leaders to bolster her point.
“Nobody in this room is responsible for slavery but we are responsible for dismantling the white supremacy that stemmed from it,” Dunston said during the event. “The men who fought for the Confederacy may have been strong, courageous, family oriented and hardworking, but they also fought for the right for people to own other people as property. Removing hate and white supremacy from our courthouses should not be a battle in 2020.”
She’s open to the monument being relocated to a museum or cemetery.
“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 told WHNT.
Sims isn’t OK with relocation, either.
“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,” he said. “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.”