WASHINGTON — When a Confederate statue is removed, some say they should be relocated, not hidden from sight. But there are many ideas about where the most appropriate spot could be.
Cities confronted with what to do with removed Confederate statues are handling the issue differently. After removing four controversial statues, Baltimore’s Mayor Catherine Pugh suggested she’d like to see them moved to cemeteries.
For now, they are being stored until the council votes on what to do next.
“We should not have these anywhere for public display,” said Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott. “These monuments are being used as beacons of lightning for vile racism.”
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“I don’t think they should be ground into dust and forgotten,” said Jane Levey, chief historian at the D.C. Historic Society.
She believes they could educate future visitors to museums about the country’s past.
“Which is a very different idea than having it out in a public street where people are asked to admire,” Levey added.
Another idea comes from a Charlottesville, Virginia citizens commission.
Grace Elizabeth Hale, professor of U.S. culture and southern history at University of Virginia, likes a suggestion to relocate them to civil war battlefields.
“They suggested one possible answer be moving the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee statues to Appomattox National [Park] battlefield and I thought that was a brilliant idea,” Hale said.
Hale thinks a battlefield relocation puts the controversial figures in historical context and also creates a space that can be avoided or sought out, depending on the visitor’s interest in their Civil War role.
“People who are neo-Confederates who want to celebrate Lee as a hero will still do that. There’s no way we can stop them from doing that and we’re a country that wants to protect free speech … but the context itself will be presenting those figures as on the wrong side of the political and historical questions of that moment,” Hale said.