City leaders ask for public to weigh in on a local confederate monument

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The debate over Confederate monuments has people across the country taking sides. This has caused Savannah City Leaders to create a task force, that will allow people to share what they think about it and what should be done with the local monument in Forsyth Park.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2016, 1,503 confederate symbols exist throughout the states.

Twenty-six confederate monuments have been removed across the United States since the Charlottesville rally erupted in violence and chaos over the controversy of these monuments.

In Georgia, at least seven are being petitioned for removal and now one in Savannah could be added to the list.

However, there is a state law that protects the removal of the monuments. The law says that no publicly owned military monuments can be relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered unless it is to preserve, protect, or help interpretation. And existing public monuments, including Confederate, cannot be removed or concealed from public view.

According to Stand Deaton of the Georgia Historical Society, “I think since the Dylan Roof shooting two years ago Americans have been more comfortable having a discussion about the prominence of Confederate symbols and statues in American society, both why they were put up originally and what they mean to us today?”

These monuments were built 150 years after the civil war and are meant to honor history. But, others believe it is more symbolic of slavery.

“For many people the fact that this has been sitting here since 1875 they would say it’s part of the landscape and the built-in environment of Savannah as well,” Deaton said.

Although it’s a part of American history- some believe removal may not be the best way to solve the problem. But, altering the monument may be a way to speak to all regardless of race.

According to Mayor Eddie Deloach, “it’s a focal point for our community and when you look at it, it would be easy for us to go in there and make that into an all-inclusive monument based on what it says and what it stands for…”

The Confederate Task Force will accept public input until Monday, November 13. You can submit your input in an online survey, e-mail (confederatememorial@savannahga.gov), or by mailing it in (City of Savannah, Confederate Memorial Task Force, PO Box 1027, Savannah, GA 31402).

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