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Steve Helber, File, Associated Press
FILE - This June 25, 2015, file photo shows the words “Black Lives Matter” spray painted on a monument to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Va. Confederate monuments in a half-dozen places this week have been defaced _ a telling sign of the racial tension that permeates post-Ferguson America.

ST. LOUIS — Vandals are targeting memorials dedicated to the Confederacy, leaving graffiti on the monuments in parks and outside government buildings.

This week, the slogan "Black lives matter" was painted on memorials in a half-dozen states. The graffiti reflects the racial tension that permeates post-Ferguson America, more than a week after a white gunman shot and killed nine black congregants at a Charleston, South Carolina, church.

Michael Allen is a lecturer in American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He compared the vandalism to the toppling of statues in Russia at the end of the Soviet Union.

Resentment of Confederate symbols boiled over after last week's massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. One of the defaced monuments was in St. Louis' Forest Park, 10 miles from Ferguson.