Confederate Marker in Garfield Park Being Looked at By City-County Council
INDIANAPOLIS--A confederate marker in Garfield Park, south of downtown Indianapolis, is now the subject of a conversation on whether or not it should be removed. Indianapolis City-County Council Pres. Maggie Lewis said she would be happy to lead a conversation on whether the park is an appropriate place for the marker, which memorializes 1,616 southern soldiers who died as prisoners of war, at Camp Morton in Indiana.
The marker does not glorify their cause.
What the councillors say
"Those who defend Confederate monuments often say they are about history and heritage, not racism, and to some degree that may be true. However, it is also true that, especially to the African-American community, they have always symbolized and glorified white supremacy," said Lewis in a prepared statement.
"Although this monument does not explicitly glorify the Confederacy or white supremacy, it should be noted that it was moved to Garfield Park in 1928, when the KKK and similar groups were a major force in Indiana politics. Also, the monument serves as a painful reminder that slaves were forced to fight for the Confederacy in order to perpetuate their own slavery. The black soldiers who died at Camp Morton are identified on the monument’s plaques as “Negro Slave.”
"The Charlottesville “Unite the Right” marchers were motivated by bigotry and hate, not history and heritage. We must not ignore that the purpose of the Confederacy was to preserve slavery."
City-County Councilor Monroe Gray, majority leader, said he does not believe Garfiled Park is an appropriate place for the marker, because it has nothing to do with park namesake Pres. James Garfield.
This monument to confederate prisoners of war holds no historical significance to President Garfield and is a painful reminder that slaves were forced to fight for the Confederacy in order to prolong their own slavery," said Gray.
"The site of Camp Morton, where these rebel soldiers were held is now known as Herron-Morton Place, adjacent to our cherished Martin Luther King Park. The remains of these individuals have been relocated to the privately owned Crown Hill Cemetery, which in our opinion is an example of a more fitting location for this headstone.
"As we hear from the Parks Department on funding for our treasured park system, we will be ever mindful of how the leadership of the Parks Department addresses our request to relocate the Confederate Monument from Garfield."
PHOTO: CJ Miller/Emmis