A Confederate monument known as the Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair was stolen from a Selma, Alabama cemetery in March, local police confirmed. Valued at $500,000, the chair’s captors are now threatening to convert the chair into a toilet unless the United Daughters of the Confederacy meet their demands.
The group, White Lies Matter, said in an email to local news outlets that they will return the monument if the UDC agrees to hang a banner outside its Richmond, Virginia headquarters with a quote by former Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur: “The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives.”
Shakur — who has lived in Cuba under political asylum since the early 1980s — is currently still wanted by the FBI for the 1973 slaying of a New Jersey state trooper.
The banner, writes White Lies Matter, must go up on April 9 — the anniversary of the Confederacy’s surrender — and remain hanging for 24 hours or the stone chair, which weighs several hundred pounds, will be converted to the equivalent of a port-a-potty.
White Lies Matter styled the ransom note to look like a 19th-century flyer, even mocking up images of what the throne-esque chair would look like converted into a toilet. In its email, the group also included photographs of the chair in their possession.
Presented in the memory of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1893, the ornate stone chair was installed in a part of the cemetery known as Confederate Circle due to the number of graves and monuments to Civil War figures there, according to The Art Newspaper.
In 2011 the surrounding area was purchased by the UDC.
Despite some UDC members calling the demand “fake news,” the Selma police and District Attorney Michael Jackson confirmed to Alabama.com that they were aware of the theft and the ransom demand.
“We took their toy, and we don’t feel guilty about it. They never play with it anyway,” White Lies Matter wrote in its email. “They just want it there to remind us what they’ve done, what they are still willing to do. But the south won’t rise again. Not as the Confederacy. Because that coalition left out a large portion of its population. All that’s left of that nightmare is an obscenely heavy chair that’s a throne for a ghost whose greatest accomplishment was treason.”