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Pro & Con: Should a Confederate monument in Forest Park be removed?

Black Lives Matter posters were placed on the Confederate monument in Forest Park on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Black Lives Matter posters were placed on the Confederate monument in Forest Park on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

The question of whether a Confederate monument in Forest Park should be removed was explored on our weekly Behind the Headlines segment amid the controversy surrounding it.

Some people want it removed, including St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Treasurer Tishaura Jones, who launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for its removal.

St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, who introduced a bill to remove the monument, and William Stage, an author, photographer and journalist, who wrote a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch arguing the monument should stay.


William Stage explains why the monument should stay

“I’m not affiliated with the Confederacy nor do I have any particular agenda other than to preserve a piece of established architecture,” Stage said. “I do have a connection to the memorial in that several generations of my family have served in the military, myself included.”

As a veteran, Stage said he primarily views the controversy in two ways.

The first, he said, is the aspect of “acknowledging and even respecting the general principle of the courage and beliefs of all men at arms.”

The second is “the cliché of erasing history and that it serves no one well,” he explained. “It’s all of our history and maybe it’s good that it’s there for both the people who are offended by it and the people who enjoy it because it gives us something to talk about. It could be a springboard for dialog.”


Sharon Tyus explains why the monument should be removed

It’s not just a race thing, Alderwoman Tyus said. “It’s a false narrative of what the Civil War was about. I’m objecting to it because, I looked around and started doing research … I don’t find statues of Benedict Arnold, Adolf Hitler,” Tyus said. “I don’t find statues of people who fought in the German wars but all of the sudden we’ve got these memorials and statues to the Civil War of the Confederacy.”

Tyus explained that she doesn’t think a Confederate monument should be displayed on public land.

“I don’t have a problem for people to have stuff on personal property or in a history museum that tells the full tale,” she said. “It’s not just a race thing but that you attempted to secede from the United States of America.”

Listen to the interview to hear more of the discussion.


What do you think should happen to the Confederate monument in Forest Park? Email your comments to talk@stlpublicradio.org?

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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