ST. LOUIS (AP) — A portion of a 38-foot-tall granite monument to the Confederacy in St. Louis has been removed, but a spokesman for the mayor’s office said the bulk of the memorial may remain in place for weeks.
Cranes arrived Thursday at the 103-year-old monument in Forest Park. Koran Addo, a spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, said workers are mostly doing preliminary engineering work toward removal of the monument, but they did remove the very top of it.
It isn’t clear when the rest will come down.
St. Louis is among several cities removing or considering taking down monuments and statues to the Confederacy. Some see them as vestiges of racism, while others say they simply mark a part of the nation’s history.
While some pay tribute to Confederate General Robert E. Lee or others from the Confederacy, the St. Louis monument, erected in 1914, depicts a Confederate soldier leaving his family for the Civil War. An angel hovers above them.
An inscription reads that the monument was erected “in memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Confederate States By the United Daughters of the Confederacy of Saint Louis.”
The monument is especially galling to some given the racial tension following the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. Brown, who was black and unarmed, was killed in August 2014 in a street confrontation with white officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was cleared of wrongdoing, but the shooting raised new awareness about the treatment of blacks in the St. Louis area.
The Confederate monument was the site of protests in 2015, and renewed protests in recent weeks. Messages like “Black Lives Matter” and “End Racism” have been spray-painted onto it.
What happens after it is removed is unclear. One option was to have the monument placed in a museum or park and explained in historical context, but the city has not found a willing taker.
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