Thursday, September 5, 2019

Confederate private monument to remain in Centennial Park for now.

The Confederate private monument in Centennial Park is to remain for now and interpretive text will be added. The Park Board had the removal of the monument on its September 3rd agenda in response to a petition to have the monument removed.

The monument is a statue of a young unknown Confederate private in a uniform with a rifle. The sculptor was George Julian Zolnay, a Hungarian immigrant who had a distinguished art career and who sculpted many Confederate monuments across the South as well as other works of art. The monument was commissioned by the Frank Cheatham Bivouac of the United Confederate Veterans in 1903, laid with Masonic honors in 1907, and dedicated in 1909 (link).
Back in June the monument was vandalized. It was splashed with red paint and someone spray painted, "there were racist" on the bronze plaque on the pedestal of the monument. That bronze plaque had the names of members of the Frank Cheatham Bivouac chapter of the United Confederate Veterans who commissioned the monuement.

In 2013, state lawmakers enacted the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, which prohibits the removal, relocation or renaming of a memorial located on public property without state approval. If the Park board would have voted to remove the monument, it would have had to seek state approval. However, there are ways to work around the law as Memphis did with a Confederate monument removal.  Also, the Park Board could drape the statute from pubic view or choose not to protect it from vandalism or not repair vandalism when it occurs. 

For now, the Park Board has voted to keep the monument, but  I would not be very surprised if the monument's future protection is in doubt.   The new Council is going to be the most liberal council the city has ever had.  If the four or five sensible people in a runoff are not victorious, there will be few voices to counter the radicals who will be serving in Metro government.  If Briley should be reelected, he does not strike me as the type of person who would stand up to the progressive element that likes to topple monuments.

With so many people from other places moving into Nashville, I have the feeling they are not going to be too concerned with preserving our heritage and political correctness seems to be a motivating ideology for many new Nashvillians.

The Park Board is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Council.

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