A group claiming responsibility for the theft of a Confederate monument in Selma, Ala., laid out ransom terms in emails to local media Monday.
The price for the relic’s return? Not cash, but a demand that the headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Richmond hang a banner quoting a Black radical on Friday, the 156th anniversary of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at the end of the Civil War.
The Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair, which was first reported missing from Live Oak Cemetery in Selma last month, is an ornately carved stone chair that was dedicated in 1893 to the Confederate president’s memory and is estimated to be worth $500,000.
Calling themselves “White Lies Matter,” the group sent a message to the Montgomery Advertiser and AL.com that included a proof-of-life type photo of the chair, a ransom note styled to look like it came from the 1800s and a photoshopped image of what their banner might look like hoisted above the UDC headquarters more than 700 miles away.
“Failure to do so will result in the monument, an ornate stone chair, immediately being turned into a toilet. See enclosed photograph,” the group said in the email to AL.com, with the photoshopped image below.
This maybe the wackiest Civil War memory story in a while. 20 years from now this will make a great vignette in a book on Civil War memory. https://t.co/sc8T1PwbhU— Dr. Adam H. Domby (@AdamHDomby) April 5, 2021
Until local media reported on the ransom emails Monday, many in Selma didn’t even know the chair had been stolen, including the local district attorney. He confirmed it with the police chief.
“Nobody knows what to make of this, it’s just really strange,” Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson told The Washington Post. “But you get used to ‘The Twilight Zone’ in Selma. Rod Serling would have a good time if he were down here himself.”