TUSKEGEE, Ala. — The Confederate monument that sits in the center of town in Tuskegee has a different look after it was recently vandalized.
The monument was erected back in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in memory of those soldiers who fought for the Confederacy from Macon County.
Mayor Lawrence “Tony” Haygood said there are plans to develop the town square into a park, perhaps a cultural and artistic park. Mayor Haygood said there are no definite plans to move the monument, but there have been on and off discussions about possibly moving it.
Mayor Haygood said they want to allow gives the folks who want to recognize the Confederate soldier, what he meant to the Confederate army and the families who have family members they want to remember the chance to do so. However, he said they want to recognize what the monument means to the greater part of the community and those who feel it should be in a different place.
“The statue represents different things to different people,” Mayor Haygood said. “It’s part of history, and we recognize that. The question is, where do you display that history? In a community where something can be so divisive, you want to make sure you do things that don’t divide us. We want to unite this community and however we can do that in a positive way is what our interests will be going forward.”
Adam Broach feels that the statue should stay in place. His fourth great-grandfather died in Murfreesboro in the winter of 1863 fighting for the Confederacy. He said he was sad when he saw the vandalism done to the statue. In his mind, it is not a reminder of the war, but it is a reminder of the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice they were passionate about. He also added that monuments like the one in Tuskegee serve as a symbol for those who do not know where a family members’ final resting place may be.
“This is part of our history,” Broach said. “A great nation can not hide from its history. It has to face its flaws and learn from them. If we take down things like this that are a reminder of things that are not necessarily popular in our history, if you erase history, people tend to repeat it.”
Broach and others plan to meet at the monument on Thursday to try and clean the monument the best they can.
Muhjah Shakir said there’s a time for every opportunity. She feels that now is the time to grapple with the monument because of what it represents to many people. She said given the fact the community and county is overwhelmingly African-American and what it represents to majority of African-Americans, is something that should be heavily considered. She said the monument represents a time period that has past, and while historical, she feels it would be better suited in a place such as a museum. Shakir said a museum would allow people to learn full history of the Confederacy. Shakir added that for many African-Americans, the monument represents a painful part of history.
“When you look at the history, and you look at it objectively, what the Confederate represented, both the flag as well as these various monuments, it really doesn’t have a place in the heart of a town square that is majority African American,” Shakir said.