Seeking Help – I Need Your Thoughts and Advice on Monument Placement

Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
Hello everyone. The title announces my mission. The details are as follows:

Background:

I was contacted on May 8th by an organization, of which I did not seek permission to use their name. So, I will not name the organization. I can tell you the following about them. The organization is not national. I am a low-ranking member and volunteer with them, and they are legitimate in every aspect and are funded by state and local revenue, local business contributions and membership dues. The organization is well established and has been in operation for 15+ years.

Their mission is to promote history. Not just civil war history but all history including African-American. As such they hold historically themed educational and fundraising events for all ages groups. They also provide research assistance to individuals.

Information:

The organization has recently decided to get involved with re-homing civil war statues and monuments that were and are still being removed from public property. They have already submitted requests for a Lee, Jackson and Grant monument and two artillery field pieces that were removed by various localities and protesters around the United States. They have also already identified private land near battlefields to place each of the six items requested. (It is unlawful to place them on federal land).

Request:

The organization has asked me to assist with obtaining ideas and feedback on their new mission. I consider the folks here at CWT as among the most knowledgeable in our area of interest. With that, I want to open the discussions on your ideas and thoughts.

In your response, I would like you to address your thoughts on fund raising if you have any. For example, do you think a nationwide call for funding to assist with paying for moving monuments would be beneficial?

I look forward to your thoughts. Thank you in advance for your help.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
On the flip side, I can see making a nationwide call for funding as creating a target for groups that are opposed to Confederate monuments in all forms, potentially opening an even bigger can of worms. Just the fact that you are reluctant to name the group makes me suspect that this has already occurred to you.

I don't know if apply for grants would be an option for this particular group or not, but it might be something you could look into. I'm assuming that the group does not have sufficient funds to accomplish their goals on their own?
 

dlofting

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Not sure a nationwide call is going to get what you want and it may end up generating opposition, even though you are well within your rights and, I believe, going in the proper direction. I would target local organizations where the monuments are to be relocated and groups who are interested in preserving Civil War history.
 

Peace Society

Corporal
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Location
Ark Mo line
Not sure a nationwide call is going to get what you want and it may end up generating opposition, even though you are well within your rights and, I believe, going in the proper direction. I would target local organizations where the monuments are to be relocated and groups who are interested in preserving Civil War history.
Perhaps concentrate first on known allies - history websites, blogs, etc.
If moved to private property, isn't the likelihood of criminal prosecution for vandals more possible than in cities and parks?
 

James N.

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Perhaps concentrate first on known allies - history websites, blogs, etc.
If moved to private property, isn't the likelihood of criminal prosecution for vandals more possible than in cities and parks?
My concern would be whether or not the property chosen for placement would remain in "friendly" hands or possibly wind up similar to the well-known fate of the N. B. Forrest statue in Memphis, for example. In a similar vein, I wonder about the land purchases by organizations like the Battlefield Trust and whether they are truly secure from future plundering.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
On the flip side, I can see making a nationwide call for funding as creating a target for groups that are opposed to Confederate monuments in all forms, potentially opening an even bigger can of worms. Just the fact that you are reluctant to name the group makes me suspect that this has already occurred to you.

I don't know if apply for grants would be an option for this particular group or not, but it might be something you could look into. I'm assuming that the group does not have sufficient funds to accomplish their goals on their own?
Thanks @Gary Morgan
Actually the group has not been targeted. I only wanted to omit their name because I didn’t seek approval to use it.
At this point, I don’t think funding is an issue. I only wanted to toss it in the ring for discussion in the event their effort blossoms.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
My concern would be whether or not the property chosen for placement would remain in "friendly" hands or possibly wind up similar to the well-known fate of the N. B. Forrest statue in Memphis, for example. In a similar vein, I wonder about the land purchases by organizations like the Battlefield Trust and whether they are truly secure from future plundering.
I totally agree with your point on the property owners. I have experienced those issues in the past
Thanks for your input
 

dlofting

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Perhaps concentrate first on known allies - history websites, blogs, etc.
If moved to private property, isn't the likelihood of criminal prosecution for vandals more possible than in cities and parks?

I think any vandalism or even trespassing on the private property can invite prosecution. That doesn't stop people from demonstrating on public land near the property which the owner(s) may to want to happen.
 

A. Roy

First Sergeant
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Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina
Is the purpose of this project just to preserve these statues and monuments? Or does the organization want to do more -- for example, adding objects that tell other sides of the story, or installing educational kiosks or markers that help the public to understand the context of the objects?

Not sure I'm explaining myself very well, but I've seen some interesting ideas about how history can be told in publicly-accessible spaces by adding new objects, rather than destroying old ones.

Roy B.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
Is the purpose of this project just to preserve these statues and monuments? Or does the organization want to do more -- for example, adding objects that tell other sides of the story, or installing educational kiosks or markers that help the public to understand the context of the objects?

Not sure I'm explaining myself very well, but I've seen some interesting ideas about how history can be told in publicly-accessible spaces by adding new objects, rather than destroying old ones.

Roy B.
Thanks Roy B , iteresting points that I should have addressed in the beginning.
The purposes are:
1) preserve the monuments so they can be seen by the public.
2) in most instances I believe they plan to put an information marker beside or near the monument either describing the history of the monument or that particular persons role in the battle (near where the monument was moved) or both in appropriate instances.
3) where possible markers will also describe the architectural interests of the monument
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
On the flip side, I can see making a nationwide call for funding as creating a target for groups that are opposed to Confederate monuments in all forms, potentially opening an even bigger can of worms. Just the fact that you are reluctant to name the group makes me suspect that this has already occurred to you.

I don't know if apply for grants would be an option for this particular group or not, but it might be something you could look into. I'm assuming that the group does not have sufficient funds to accomplish their goals on their own?
Thanks for your thoughts Gary M.
They do have sufficient funds and identified private property to move the three monuments and two artillery pieces already requested.
I tossed in the thought of fund raising to gain others ideas , in the event if this initiative grows and monuments in distant places are identified as possible candidates to be saved.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
It's very hard to comment without knowing more about each particular monument. In general I think re-homing of disputed statues and markers needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. For instance: is the monument valuable for artistic reasons? Does it tell a story about the history of an area? Is is associated with a particular person? Is that person controversial? Is the new locatio an appropriate site for the monument?

I could go on and on. I don't support the widespread destruction of monuments but I'm sympathetic to those who see them as giving honor to a past that is not always honorable. I agree with @A. Roy that adding context is important and would hope that a relocation would serve that purpose.
 

James N.

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All this current foolishness and stupidity reminds me of almost stumbling across this fine and modern statue of - who else?! - General Lee near the Middle Bridge at Antietam NMP. It was then (2017) completely unmarked with absolutely NO interpretation, parking, NOTHING. It was however easily accessible from the parking lot of the Visitor Center for tours (not a NPS site) seen in the background, and the lady inside told its story. It had been furtively erected over two successive nights by the then-owner of the land who wished to donate it to the NPS; however, he was told no further monuments or statuary was to be allowed at Antietam, so one night the base mysteriously appeared, followed the next night by the statue itself. Following his work, the property was then donated to the NPS! As stated, the NPS had at the time of my visit done absolutely nothing to promote or even acknowledge the existence of this handsome and artistic work; I wonder what its current status is? Fortunately, as you can see, it's pretty high on its pedestal and virtually out-of-reach of would-be vandals.

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Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
Great story James. I worked with a group a few years back placing their regiment of interest. Where possible, they purchased the land, built a monument, gave the land to the organization formerly know as civil war trust, who in turn gave it to the NPS. The group has two more they want to install but getting access to the private owned land is an issue. Thanks I appreciate your input
 

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