The murder of nine African-Americans in a South Carolina church by a self-proclaimed white supremacist depicted online holding a Confederate flag has prompted calls to remove or address how the flag and other Confederate symbols are placed and honored.
As more and more states are removing confederate flags and monuments from places of honor on public property, the Helena City Commission will discuss the issue this week. Two City Commissioners, Katherine Haque-Hauserath and Andres Haladay, pointed out that the monument, which was actually refurbished in 2008, could be rededicated to honor all civil war dead – not just those of the confederacy, or the name could be changed so that it does not honor and support a legacy of racism. Helena citizens have also proposed that the monument be rededicated.
Intelligent Discontent has proposed that the commissioners make sure that the confederate monument actually tells the history of the Confederacy –that group of states who seceded from the nation in support of human bondage. James Conner at The Flathead Memo has proposed that the fountain be removed and that the city “recycle the granite in the spirit of beating swords into plowshares.”
For one thing, when Confederate troops fired the first shots on Fort Sumter, in Charleston, S.C.’s harbor, Montana wasn’t a state. It wasn’t even its own organized territory. And historians have pointed out that the fountain was erected as part of a revisionist movement which attempted to rebrand the civil war as about “states rights” rather than slavery. The confederate fountain is the only such object in the NW United States.
What do you think, dear readers? The fountain will be discussed on Wednesday July 8 at 4pm during the Helena City Commission meeting.
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