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Monday, Oct. 5, 2020

Monumental Move

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Confederate Statue has a New Home

The Civil War ended in 1865. The battle over how it is remembered rages on. But soon, the Caddo Parish Courthouse lawn will no longer be home to one of the skirmishes.

The Caddo Commission recently agreed to pay to move the monument from the north side of the courthouse to private property in DeSoto Parish near, but not on, the Mansfield State Historical Site, which preserves 178 acres of the Civil War battlefield where the Battle of Mansfield occurred on April 8, 1864.

According to the agreement, the monument will be moved to property owned by the Shreveport chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy No. 237.

The UDC issued a statement after the agreement had been announced.

“The members of Shreveport chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) are delighted with the agreement that we have reached with Caddo Parish that recognizes our legal ownership rights of our monument,” the statement read.

And while a treaty has been reached at the Caddo Courthouse, tensions over the future of the monument linger. Breka Peoples is a community activist from DeSoto Parish. She said she received numerous phone calls about the monument being moved.

“We don’t want it. We don’t want Shreveport trash, because that’s what it is. Our citizens don’t want it,” Peoples said.

With the move, the monument will no longer be on public property.

“The monument is being moved to private, not public, property owned by the Daughters of the Confederacy,” Caddo Parish Attorney Donna Frazier said.

Peoples said the fact that the monument would be on private property instead of on public display did make some difference.

“The place that it’s going to be located, we won’t know it’s there,” she said. “The statue represents hate, and I don’t want my people to be reminded of all the injustice our ancestors had to go through.”

The monument was on public property at the Caddo Courthouse, which prompted lengthy protests and legal battles over its presence there. Some who oppose the monument complained about how long it took commissioners to decide to move it. Frazier said that the Commission did not have

absolute control over the process of reaching that decision.

“The parish was engaged in litigation on the very day the Commission actually voted to move the monument,” she said. “The parish had no control of the movement of the case through the court system and could not dictate how long it would take.”

Frazier said that, as part of the settlement in the case, the UDC were given until Aug. 30 to find a different location for the monument. They subsequently chose the DeSoto Parish location.

Currently, the parish has no definitive timeline for moving the monument. Frazier said the parish is in the process of developing a Request for Proposals for the project. Once that process is complete, the RFP will be advertised for companies to submit bids on the monument’s removal and transport.

In its statement, the UDC said it was pleased that the monument will have a new home.

“We are saddened that our monument will be moved from the parish courthouse,” the statement said. “But it will be going to a place of honor and alongside graves of Confederate heroes to fulfill its purpose as a tombstone for soldiers from Caddo Parish who died on distant battlefields.

“The UDC has always strived to locate our monuments in places where they would be honored and safe from harm. Given that the Caddo Parish Courthouse is no longer a secure site, we are grateful that our monument will soon be moved to a new permanent location that we chose on private land and near a Civil War battlefield site, where it will once again be protected and revered for generations to come.”

ON STANDS NOW!

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