"We took their toy, and we don't feel guilty about it." So reads an email sent to AL.com from a group calling itself White Lies Matter. The "toy" they claim to have taken is the Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair, a 3-foot-tall stone monument worth $500,000 that had been kept in Selma, Alabama's Old Live Oak Cemetery. According to Selma police, it was stolen after midnight on March 19, and the group has provided photos of it. As befitting a "toy," there's a game of sorts afoot: The "anti-racist action group," as the Montgomery Advertiser calls White Lies Matter, says it has promised the United Daughters of the Confederacy it will hand over the chair only if the UDC adorns its Richmond, Va., headquarters with a banner of White Lies Matter's design for 24 hours beginning at 1pm Friday; that is the anniversary of Robert E. Lee's 1865 surrender in Appomattox, Virginia.
Said banner reads, "The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives." That's a quote attributed to Assata Shakur, a Black Liberation Army member convicted of the 1973 murder of a New Jersey state trooper; she is wanted by the FBI following her 1979 prison escape. What's at stake, per the group's email: The monument will be immediately turned into a toilet if the UDC doesn't comply. It added, "America's original sin is that people were kidnapped from their homes and forced to build one of the most prosperous nations in the world, without being allowed to participate in it. We decided, in the spirit of such ignominious traditions, to kidnap a chair instead." Selma District Attorney Michael Jackson confirmed to the Hill that a demand had been made for the monument's return. (Read more monument stories.)