Confederate Sign is Back in Downtown Montgomery
by Amanda McKenzie
Thursday, 19 May 2011
A marker that features the Confederate battle flag is back in downtown Montgomery. It was removed six years ago and some people had hoped they would never see it again.
The sign marks where the offices of the Confederate government stood in 1861. It has seen opposition and protests for years without success.
"It makes me feel like we're going backwards or maybe we've never moved forward from the fact that this would be up," Re'Rene Rae said.
The marker has many meanings. It is a symbol for a critical moment in time when the Confederate government reigned supreme in the South and had seceded from the Union.
But others see it as a symbol of oppression and slavery, and said it does not belong on city property.
"To flaunt the Confederate flag in the faces of the black people here in Montgomery is insulting," Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) said.
He said the marker should have never come back after it was removed in 2005 due to the Renaissance Hotel construction. The marker was never publicly discussed or announced before it was installed again.
"Because they knew the black leaders in the city of Montgomery would oppose it, so they want to get it installed first."
But Mayor Todd Strange said the city council always had plans to bring it back. He said his preference was to place it at the First White House of the Confederacy, but a historical group met to discuss the significance of the marker and its location, and said otherwise.
"They came back and said it was historically significant at that location because that was where the offices were, so we've put it back just with the history of the location facing the front," Strange said.
John Napier, who is a former member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and involved in the donation of the marker in 1979, said he believes history can not be altered and the marker belongs where it is.
"It's part of our history," he said. "I don't believe in censoring our history. Our history is the good, the bad and the ugly."