The Southern Poverty Law Center found that nearly all the Confederate symbols removed or renamed came after the police killing of George Floyd on May 25.

Source: Ashleigh Carter

At least 168 Confederate symbols in the U.S. were renamed or removed from public spaces in 2020, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report. Nearly all of those symbols were taken down in the wake of monthslong civil rights protests against systemic racism and police brutality following the police killing of George Floyd. One of those symbols was in Arizona and stolen from public property. 

According to an update released Tuesdayof the SPLC’s “Whose Heritage?” report, which tracks the removal of Confederate symbols in the U.S. annually, 94 of those removed in 2020 were Confederate monuments. Virginia saw the most Confederate symbols taken down — 71 — of any state, followed by North Carolina, which removed 24, and Alabama and Texas with 12 each. 

The removal of Confederate symbols in 2020 marked a massive uptick from 2015 to 2019, when only 58 monuments were removed in total. 

Despite the uprooting of many outdated symbols, the report stated that more than 2,100 Confederate symbols still remain in the public eye, 704 of which are monuments. The remaining symbols include statues, government buildings, plaques, markers, schools, parks, and more that are named for people associated with the Confederacy. 

“2020 was a transformative year for the Confederate symbols movement. Over the course of seven months, more symbols of hate were removed from public property than in the preceding four years combined,” SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks said in a statement. “Confederate symbols are a form of systemic racism used to intimidate, instill fear, and remind Black people that they have no place in American society.”

Last summer, when a resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests sprung up in the U.S., statues and symbols of the Confederacy became a target of the demonstrations. Some protesters tore down the racist monuments, while others were removed by local officials. Many of the symbols targeted by protesters commemorated Confederate soldiers and leaders, colonizers including Christopher Columbus, and other controversial figures.