Workers have begun dismantling a Confederate memorial in St. Louis’s Forest Park on Monday. The monument’s removal began the same day an agreement was reached between the city and several groups that sued to have the monument stay in place, shortly after the settlement was reached, according to reports.
“We wanted it down,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said Monday via a live-streamed news conference. She said the memorial symbolized slavery.
The Missouri Civil War Museum, along with other groups, filed a lawsuit that halted the city’s attempt to remove it earlier this month. According to the agreement, the museum will pay to remove and store the 32-foot granite and bronze monument, until it can be relocated to a museum, battlefield or cemetery. The agreement states that the new location cannot be within the city, and that it will be removed by June 30.
Confederate Memorial, erected in 1914, depicts a Confederate soldier leaving his family and heading to fight in the Civil War, while The Angel of the Spirit of the Confederacy hovers above. The monument has been vandalized with graffiti reading “Black Lives Matter” and “End Racism,” while the city discussed its removal.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Missouri Division and the St. Louis Confederate Monument Association were parties to the agreement with the city. Patsy Limpus, who is associated with both organizations, feels that the monument is simply historical. “Even though some people don’t like, it is part of history,” she said.
The monument’s dismantling is another example of recent efforts to remove Confederate monuments or other structures that are seen as symbols of slavery or racism. After a South Carolina white supremacist murdered nine African-Americans in 2015, a national discourse about symbols of racism began. Across the country, cities such as New Orleans and Louisville began removing or relocating monuments, while others, like Baltimore and Houston, are considering similar actions.
Critics of the removals echo Limpus’ thoughts, citing historical significance as one reason to leave the monuments in place.
Alabama lawmakers have taken steps to protect their monuments. In May, they passed a bill that prohibits “the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument that has stood on public property for 40 or more years.”
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