San Diego removes plaque honoring Confederate leader Jefferson Davis

SAN DIEGO - A plaque honoring the President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis was removed from Horton Plaza Park in downtown San Diego Wednesday morning.

San Diego City Councilman Christopher Ward posted a picture of Twitter of the area where the plaque was removed. =

"This morning we removed plaque in @HortonPlazaPark honoring Jefferson Davis. Monuments to bigotry have no place in #SanDiego or anywhere!" Ward posted.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer told FOX 5 about the decision to remove the plague.

“It was an opportunity to act decisively which I did.  Make sure we do not have symbols of division in San Diego.  This is a time for our country to come together any thing we can do to promote that to come together as a city as a region to promote that healing – that’s in the best interest of the city and why I acted decisively.”

FOX 5 reporter Sharon Chen asked Faulconer: Would you say this was a knee jerk reaction, if I’m not mistaken the plaque was removed when you guys were doing the renovation on Horton Plaza and you guys chose to put the plaque back in.

“I think it was the right thing to do. Again it’s time to act decisively because when you see what is happening with the divisions in the country we’re bringing San Diegans together. We’re proud of that we’re proud of how we come together as a city and that’s in the best interest of the entire city.”​

Faulconer's spokesman Craig Gustafson said a petition posted by San Diegans Against Racism early Monday morning brought the plaque to their attention and the mayor chose to act quickly to remove it.

The plaque commemorated the western end of the transcontinental Jefferson Davis Highway in San Diego. It was presented to the City in 1926 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and later replaced in 1956.  It had remained at Horton Plaza for decades, until Westfield Group removed it during a renovation of the mall and park.

The plaque was reinstalled at the public park in 2016 after a several-year redevelopment project ended.

The removal of the plaque happened amid a growing number of cities across the United States following violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Some say the Confederacy monuments, statues and other markers mark history and honor heritage, while others argue they are racist symbols of America's dark legacy of slavery.

Here are the Confederate memorials that will be removed after Charlottesville

More than 150 years after the Civil War ended, the Confederacy is memorialized with statues, monuments and historical markers across the United States.

A nationwide debate surrounding this issue has been underway since Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015 in an effort to "start a race war." And it flared up again after white nationalists marched last weekend to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter-protester was killed amid violent clashes between demonstrators.

The National Register of Historic Places does not keep a detailed list of Confederate memorials. In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified 1,503 Confederate "place names and other symbols in public spaces" across the nation but admitted the study was "far from comprehensive." Some Civil War monuments in the South, such as at battlefields, do not have pro-Confederate symbolism.

Many local government officials are now weighing whether to keep Confederate memorials in their cities and towns. Here's a state-by-state breakdown:

Removing

Virginia

The Charlottesville City Council voted in April to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at the newly renamed Emancipation Park, CNN affiliate WVIR reported. The violence there over the weekend came after this decision. The removal is on hold pending litigation.

Florida

A Confederate statue called "Old Joe" was removed Monday in Gainesville, Florida. The statue sat outside the Alachua County Administration Building for more than 100 years. The Alachua County Board of Commissioners made the decision to remove the statue in May after two years of debate. It will be relocated by the Daughters of the Confederacy.

The Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners voted in July to remove the Memoria In Aeterna monument, which honors Confederate soldiers, from a county courthouse. The board is also expected to relocate the Hillsborough County Civil War Veterans Monument.

North Carolina

Protesters toppled over a Confederate statue Monday in front of the old Durham County Courthouse. The monument depicted a soldier holding a gun and had an engraving that said "in memory of the boys who wore gray." The protest was held in response to the Charlottesville violence.

Kentucky

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said he will ask the City Council to approve relocating two Confederate-era monuments from a former courthouse. The mayor announced the decision in a series of tweets after the Charlottesville attack.

"I am taking action to relocate the Confederate statues. We have thoroughly examined the issue, and heard from many of our citizens," Gray said. In another tweet, Gray said he planned to make the announcement next week, but said his decision was affected by the "tragic events" in Charlottesville.

Maryland

Baltimore removed four Confederate monuments early Wednesday after a white nationalist rally to protect memorials turned deadly over the weekend in Virginia.

Considering removing

Texas

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called for the formation of a task force Tuesday to determine the fate of Confederate statues in city parks during the next 90 days, including the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park and the Confederate War Memorial in downtown Dallas, CNN affiliate KTVT reported. "This is simple. We could remove them, the question is, how do we heal on this issue? To do that we have to talk and listen to one another," Rawlings said.

In San Antonio, two City Council members have pushed for the removal of a Confederate monument at Travis Park, CNN affiliate KSAT reported. Councilmen Roberto Treviño and William "Cruz" Shaw jointly filed a consideration to relocate the monument where it could be used in an "educational context."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked city staff to compile an inventory of Confederate statues and make recommendations about whether they should be removed from city property. Members of the public urged the council to take down the statues. "It is my hope that we can, in a very positive and constructive way, move forward," Turner said.

Florida

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche said she asked city officials for an inventory of all Confederate monuments and markers. Brosche said in a statement that she plans to submit legislation to relocate the monuments to museums for "appropriate historical context."

Virginia

Officials in Richmond, the one-time capital of the Confederacy, have started to hold public meetings for community input on the future of the city's many Civil War monuments and statues. According to local reports, the first meeting was civil, with spirited debate on both sides. The city hopes to have a plan in place later this fall.

Atlanta

The city of Atlanta said it is currently reviewing options for the Peace Monument in Piedmont Park. Mayor Kasim Reed asked the public art commission to review the city's art and determine which pieces have ties to racism and slavery, but hasn't asked to remove any.

Alabama

Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered plastic draped over a Confederate monument at Linn Park and a plywood structure built around it while officials decide what to do. State law prohibits a city from taking down the monument, he said, but not covering it up. "This country should in no way tolerate the hatred that the KKK, neo-Nazis, fascists and other hate groups spew," he said. "The God I know doesn't put one race over another."

Not removing

Arizona

Gov. Doug Ducey told CNN affiliate KTVK that he will not remove any Confederate monuments or memorials and will instead leave that decision up to the public.

"It's not my desire or mission to tear down any monuments or memorials. We have a public process for this. If the public wants to be engaged on this, I'd invite them to get engaged in it," Ducey said.

Pennsylvania

Officials with Gettysburg National Military Park said they have no plans to remove any of the park's 1,300-plus monuments, markers or plaques.