- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A group has recommended removing a three-story Confederate memorial from Forest Park in St. Louis, where it has stood for more than a century.

In a report dated Dec. 10 and released Thursday, the St. Louis Confederate Monument Reappraisal Committee, which is comprised of business and civic interests, recommended giving the memorial to the Missouri Civil War Museum or putting in storage, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/1kiLe5p ).

Mayor Francis Slay supports the idea of removing the memorial, but only if private funds can be raised to cover the cost. The report says dismantling and moving the monument would cost $129,280, which could take some time to raise and delay the removal.

“We’re talking about a pretty significant amount of money that it would take to move it,” Maggie Crane, a spokeswoman for Slay, told The Associated Press.

The issue has been brewing since last spring, when Slay publicly asked various agencies to consider what to do with the 32-foot granite statue near the park’s visitor center, which was dedicated in 1914.

That debate came as Confederate symbols across the country faced increasing scrutiny since the June shooting deaths of nine black congregants at a Charleston, South Carolina, church. The white suspect, Dylann Roof, had posed in photos with the Confederate flag.

Slay’s exploration of what to do with the St. Louis monument predated that shooting.

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, a black St. Louis Democrat, has pressed for the monument to go, telling Slay in writing that while some may “reflect on this memorial as a symbol of southern culture and Civil War reverence … symbols matter and should reflect who we are as a people today.”

“Symbols associated with this country’s racist, oppressive past should not be elevated or displayed in public places,” he wrote.

The Missouri chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans ancestry group has sought for the memorial dating to 1914 to be left alone, arguing that doing so otherwise would be extreme political correctness and an attempt to erase history.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com


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