SAVANNAH, GA (WSAV-TV) – Caution tape wrapped the Confederate memorial this morning in Forsyth park. There was no crime scene but instead a scene of protest.
The discussion of removing Confederate monuments from public places has erupted in the past year. Now, a group of grad students took to Forsyth park so that visitors and the city know that they believe preserving history, no matter the context, should be debated first before emblems or structures are demoed.
Many visitors who saw the caution tape had mixed feelings, several told News 3 they thought it was siding with the public outcries in other states to take down monuments honoring the Confederacy. Others said in general it was defacing the monument, but those behind the act say neither of those perspectives were the purpose of this protest.
“Right now there is a big kind of movement going on and discussion in many cities about the Confederate monuments,” says graduate student Erin Ward who is studying historic preservation.
The discussion Savannah grad students want for these monuments is valuing preservation before thinking demolition.
“We were very concerned about not causing any damage and opening a dialogue and I think that’s what we’ve done here,” says fellow classmate Cornelia Dodge.
The tape was removed later in the day by park police. Students say the markings around the monument are chalk based and removable, but what they want to make permanent is that the public not turn a blind eye to removal of monuments.
“The big message is opening a dialogue to talk about historic preservation, confederate monuments, and erasing history,” adds Dodge.
The protest does not suggest any form of monument demolition is happening in Savannah at this time. While it is state property and the students briefly defaced it, they say they no damage was done to the memorial keeping with their practice of preserving history no matter the context.
“We were hoping that this brings attention to it in a non-evasive way, in a non destructive way and hopefully that’s what it did.”