SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - The last remaining memorials to Confederate President Jefferson Davis have been removed from New Mexico rest areas along Interstate 10, the main east-west route across the state, New Mexico officials have said.
The state Department of Transportation announced last week all memorials to the U.S. Civil War-era Confederacy were removed after people posted messages about them on social media, The Santa Fe New Mexican reports .
“We believe that they have all been removed, but we encourage anyone with knowledge of any others to let us know and we will have them removed immediately,” said department spokeswoman Emilee Cantrell.
The move comes amid a national U.S. debate over removing the names of Confederate leaders from public roads and buildings.
Opposition to plans for removing a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, for example, spurred a violent rally of white supremacists that left one anti-racist demonstrator dead.
Davis’ name has become part of the landscape across the South and, for a time, even in New Mexico. But New Mexico has tended to celebrate the Union’s leaders.
New Mexico was the site of the Battle of Glorieta Pass, when Hispanic Union soldiers beat back the Confederate Army.
It is often called the “Gettysburg of the West.”
New Mexico also has counties named for Abraham Lincoln, Schuyler Colfax, Ulysses Grant, Jose Francisco Chaves and Joseph Calloway Lea.
And Albuquerque-born singer Demi Lovato is a descendant of Francisco Perea, who served as a Union Army lieutenant colonel from New Mexico and was a close friend of President Abraham Lincoln. He was seated near the president’s box at Ford’s Theatre when Lincoln was assassinated.