Debbie Elliott

Confederate Adm. Raphael Semmes, in green-patinaed bronze, sword at his hip, long stood sentry on Mobile's Government Street, the main corridor through Alabama's historic port city.

Now all that remains is the 120-year-old statue's massive granite pedestal and a commemorative plaque.

"Adm. Raphael Semmes, CSA, commander of the most successful sea raider in history, the CSS Alabama," reads David Toifel, a member of the Adm. Raphael Semmes Camp #11 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Mobile.

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Five years ago today, a white supremacist murdered nine people in Charleston, S.C. They were worshippers at Emanuel AME Church. Here's NPR's Debbie Elliott.

Jo Hood impatiently waited for 5 p.m. Thursday — the hour Alabama's stay-at-home order lifted.

"It's time," he says before propping open the door at Jane Loves Shoes, a women's boutique named for and owned by Hood's wife Jane. They have three small storefronts in this outdoor shopping center in Orange Beach – a resort town on the Alabama Gulf Coast. They sell shoes, women's clothing, accessories and gifts.

Hood says he wanted to open as soon as it was legal as a ceremonial gesture after being closed for more than a month.

Some Southern states, including Georgia and South Carolina, are among the first in the country to ease restrictions to try get back to business despite factors that make the South particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

And pressure is mounting on other Southern governors to get their economies back up and running. Outside the Alabama Capitol this week, a few dozen protesters drove by honking their horns, chanting "freedom" and demanding to get back to work

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