Invisiblehate.org is a website dedicated to identifying and describing the locations of the remaining 700 statues commemorating Confederate military officers and more than 1,600 other political symbols of the Confederacy. The site, established in 2020, is an apparent outgrowth of the anti-racism movement arising out of the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that arose in the Summer of 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the wave of spontaneous actions taken against statues and other symbols erected since the Jim Crow period as part of The Lost Cause reaction against Reconstruction of the Union. The movement to remove these symbols of hatred has been very controversial and supporters of the statues and other symbols (including President Donald J. Trump) have resisted all efforts to remove the statues. Although most of the symbols have been removed legally, as this site proposes, at times there has also been violent reaction from both sides.
The name of the site is an illusion to the Ku Klux Klan which was a private, secret or invisible organization that was instrumental in financing, designing, sculpting and installing many of these monuments, along with more public and legitimate groups such as Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy for descendants of soldiers serving in the Confederate Army. Numerous instances of individuals portrayed in the monuments were also members of the Klan, including John Brown Gordon, former governor of Georgia and reportedly one-time head of the Klan in Georgia, whose statue astride his horse is on the lawn of the Georgia state capitol.
The anti-statuary movement has provoked a variety of responses. For example, the website of the United Daughters of the Confederacy contained the following statement in January, 2021. Some will view the statement as conciliatory while more militant others may interpret it as "too little too late."
- The United Daughters of the Confederacy appreciates the feelings of citizens across the country currently being expressed concerning Confederate memorial statues and monuments that were erected by our members in decades past.
- To some, these memorial statues and markers are viewed as divisive and thus unworthy of being allowed to remain in public places. To others, they simply represent a memorial to our forefathers who fought bravely during four years of war. These memorial statues and markers have been a part of the Southern landscape for decades.
- We are grieved that certain hate groups have taken the Confederate flag and other symbols as their own. We are the descendants of Confederate soldiers, sailors, and patriots. Our members are the ones who have spent 126 years honoring their memory by various activities in the fields of education, history and charity, promoting patriotism and good citizenship. Our members are the ones who, like our statues, have stayed quietly in the background, never engaging in public controversy.
- The United Daughters of the Confederacy totally denounces any individual or group that promotes racial divisiveness or white supremacy. And we call on these people to cease using Confederate symbols for their abhorrent and reprehensible purposes.
- We are saddened that some people find anything connected with the Confederacy to be offensive. Our Confederate ancestors were and are Americans. We as an Organization do not sit in judgment of them nor do we impose the standards of the 19th century on Americans of the 21st century.
- It is our sincere wish that our great nation and its citizens will continue to let its fellow Americans, the descendants of Confederate soldiers, honor the memory of their ancestors. Indeed, we urge all Americans to honor their ancestors’ contributions to our country as well. This diversity is what makes our nation stronger.
- Join us in denouncing hate groups and affirming that Confederate memorial statues and monuments are part of our shared American history and should remain in place.
The statement is signed by Mrs. Linda Edwards, President General, 2020-2022.
A similar statement on the Home page of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is somewhat shorter and less conciliatory. In the first paragraph, it first quotes a statement attributed to Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee, Commander General, United Confederate Veterans, at New Orleans, Louisiana, April 25, 1906:
- "To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish.”
It goes on:
- "The Sons of Confederate Veterans, in furtherance of the Charge of Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee, shall be strictly patriotic, historical, educational, fraternal, benevolent, non-political, non-racial and non-sectarian. The Sons of Confederate Veterans neither embraces, nor espouses acts or ideologies of racial and religious bigotry, and further, condemns the misuse of its sacred symbols and flags in the conduct of same. Each member is expected to perform his full duty as a citizen according to his own conscience and understanding."
Both these statements reflect the long-time positions of both organizations, which critics note was often in the past a pacific front for covert virulent racism of at least some members. For decades, opposition to this view among African-Americans and others to the statuary and symbols of the confederacy was largely quiescent, but in the summer of 2020, it broke into the open, producing among other things the Invisible Hate website described in greater detail below.
A scroll-down menu in the upper right of each page includes links entitled Home page, Learn And Act, Share Your Voice, About Invisible Hate, Instructions and FAQ.
At the bottom of the About Invisible Hate page is a list of three Partners who appear to be the sponsors and owners of the site: 22Square, MarketSmiths and m ss ng p eces.
Under the heading of Instructions are a series of five pages. The first is a screen with a black background and the non-interactive image of an interactive map of the territory of the Confederate States of America with small green dots numbered from 1-18, the instruction to "Discover Monuments on an Interactive Map" and a clickable right arrow. Clicking the arrow opens a second (third, fourth and fifth) About screen. There is also an interactive Skip button that links to the actual interactive map. The first time it is clicked the viewer is asked to allow the site to identify your location. The map then tailors view of a national U.S. map to the locations nearest your location.
The second screen instructs viewers to Tap Or Click On Monument Icons To Learn the Real History Behind Each Monument. The page also has a Skip button which links to the map. The third screen (first action screen) instructs viewers to Write To The Local Representative In That Monument's District to Demand Its Removal. The fourth screen (also an action screen) is in many ways the most interesting. It invites viewers to Take a Picture If You Are In Front Of A Monument Or Pick An Image From Our Library and Make Your Mark On A Monument With A Carousel Of Interactive Stickers. The page also advises viewers that Note: Live Camera Function Is Only Available On a Mobile Devise Within 1 Mile of A Monument. The final (another action) screen instructs the viewer to Download the Image To Your Device And Then Share On Social Media. It adds Don't Forget To Tag @invisiblehate, Link To The Site And Use The Hashtag @tearthemdown! The Start button on this page also links to the interactive map.
The site enables each user to auto-generate an email template to the appropriate representative and make their opinions known.
The FAQ page offers answers to frequently asked questions. While there were only 11 states that seceded and joined The Confederate States of America in the Civil War against the Union of the remaining states, the FAQ page notes that there are confederate monuments in 31 states including New York and California.