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Citizens Advisory Committee Votes Down a Recommendation to Remove Confederate Monument

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The Caddo Parish Citizens Advisory Committee has voted 5-3 to keep the Confederate monument in place, and add an informational plaque and two additional monuments commemorating the reconstruction era and local civil rights initiatives.

The panel held lengthy discussions about putting up other monuments at the Courthouse to honor the Civil Rights movement.

This action by the committee is not binding, but it will be forwarded to the Caddo Commission which has the ultimate authority to take action on the future of the monument. But the whole fight could end up in court over the ownership of the property where the statue stands. The Daughters of the Confederacy contends they own the land and the parish has no authority to remove the statue.

The Advisory Committee has been working on this debate for 9 months. They have held community meetings in several neighborhoods. Two recent meetings ended without a vote when some members could not attend.

Here’s the complete text of the measure that passed:

This Advisory Group asks that the following recommendations be adopted by the Caddo Parish Commission based on the findings listed

The monument sub-committee finds:

1.     That the Caddo Parish Confederate Monument should remain in its current historical place in perpetuity and on the National Register of Historic Places and there should be no further discussion regarding altering or moving it. 

A.     The monument represents a crucial part of the Parish’s history.

B.     The monument itself is of important historical and artistic stature.

C.     The site of the monument is in proper context.

D.     Moving of the monument is cost prohibitive.

E.     Moving the monument would likely result in extensive damage to the Monument and possibly the grounds of the courthouse.

2.     That it was the intention of the previous parish governing body, the Caddo Parish Police Jury, in its June 3rd and June 18th, 1903 meeting minutes, that the confederate monument association of Shreveport Chapter 237 United Daughters of the Confederacy, be given the front plat of courthouse square as a site for the monument.

3.     The sub-committee feels that it is important that our parish follow a principle of preserving authentic historic sites that are part of our cultural heritage.  The parish should make a better effort to offer an “additive” instead of a “subtractive” approach to interpreting our parish’s history and experience of all of its citizens during the Civil War.  This memorial monument represents an important thread in our ongoing local, state, and national history, and we must understand it by studying it as part of a complex story. Offer fuller and wider viewpoints, but not omit or remove those with which one disagrees. Accepting the existence of monuments of prior generations, their priorities, mistakes, and their choices need not and does not equate with celebration or agreement.

4.     The committee highly values any move to continue to commemorate Caddo Parish history. Therefore we recommend the erecting of two new monuments on the courthouse grounds, flanking and complementing the existing monument.  One of the new monuments shall commemorate the period that followed the Civil War, popularly known as Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, from 1865 to 1890. The other monument shall commemorate Caddo Parish’s place in, and contributions to, the Civil Rights movement, from 1890 to the 1970s.

A.     The Caddo Parish Commission should appoint a committee to oversee this endeavor and to solicit designs, hopefully on a national, competitive basis, to engender popular sentiment toward the constructive nature of the parish’s approach.

B.     This committee shall recommend to the Commission the placement of the new monuments.

C.     This committee should propose designs for the new monuments for the approval of the Commission.

D.     The Commission shall provide startup money for this project to be determined by the Commission.

E.     The committee shall undertake to raise the remaining funds from other sources.

5.  In order for these recommendations to be workable and sustainable, the

     Committee recommends:

A.     Regardless of outstanding legal questions, the Caddo Parish Commission reserves the area of placement of both the Caddo Parish Confederate Monument and the new monuments be reserved for their stated use in perpetuity.

6.  The committee recommends that this report be voted on “in total”, and not by           an item-by-item measure.

 

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