Confederate Memorial on Ward Parkway to come down
After much hubbub — and an act of vandalism — a Confederate monument at 55th Street and Ward Parkway in Kansas City was boxed up Sunday in preparation for removal.
The Missouri Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy asked Kansas City Parks and Recreation officials to remove the monument from its current location to a place of safety.
The organization made the request to prevent further vandalism after someone painted what appeared to be a red hammer and sickle on the memorial at 55th Street and Ward Parkway on Friday.
The monument will be removed as soon as possible, Parks and Recreation Department director Mark McHenry said Sunday.
McHenry said the parks department was working with a company to plan the removal, and didn’t know yet exactly when the work would start. It might take days to get a crane in place to lift the monument out, he said.
By about noon on Sunday, the monument was covered by plywood boards to prevent further graffiti.
“We’re going to keep an eye on it,” McHenry said.
Parks officials said Saturday that they are going to remove the monument.
Earlier that day, Third District City Councilman Jermaine Reed called for the removal of Confederate monuments, labeling them “outdated” and a reminder of much darker times in American history.
“Confederate monuments are an outdated reminder of our country’s history of racism, exclusion, and violence,” Reed said in a statement. “They have no place in a modern society.”
Erected to the “Loyal Women of the Old South,” the local memorial’s purpose was to recognize the women who supported the Confederacy and slavery.
It was a 1934 gift to the city by a local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It originally stood in the Country Club Plaza but was relocated in 1958 to its present site, according to the Kansas City Department of Parks and Recreation website.
Some area residents have recently asked that the 83-year-old monument be removed.
McHenry, director of the parks and recreation department, said the monument will remain in possession of the city and will be placed inside a building, out of public view. The department is obtaining an estimate for the cost of removing the monument.
A group organizing a No Place For Hate rally and march at noon Sunday at the J.C. Nichols Fountain on the Plaza had a plan to pass out petitions to remove the Confederate memorial and rename the fountain.
In the early part of the last century, Nichols developed the Plaza and several residential districts. He used restrictive deeds to keep racial and religious minorities out of those neighborhoods.
Confederate monuments, Reed said, “belong in textbooks, not public places, where future generations can learn from the mistakes of the past so that we don’t repeat them.”
The Star’s Kelsey Ryan contributed to this report.