The battle over Missouri's Confederate monuments boils down to race issue

1 year 4 days 9 hours ago Tuesday, March 13 2018 Mar 13, 2018 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:11:00 PM CDT March 13, 2018 in News
By: Justin Kollar, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - A spokesman for a senator who wants to relocate Confederate monuments said it's not just about politics.

"This is a black and white issue," said Jason Groce, the chief of staff for Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis.

The debate is also being framed as a matter of eliminating racist symbols versus preserving U.S. history.

Groce questions the need for such reminders.

"If justice is to be blind, then why do you have that rock there that continually shows the divisiveness of color.”

Groce said the monuments have been provoking minorities since the end of the Civil War. He said they should be moved because many were built on public land where people are forced to view them.

“Think about it, if you are an African American or minority in this country and you go to the courthouse, you already have a bias. You already have a viewpoint that 'nothing is going to work in my favor' in that courthouse, then you go to the courthouse and you see this monument that honors the Confederacy. It kinda solidifies that fact for you."

Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola strongly believes the monuments should be left where they are.

"We need to put ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors and try to understand why they did what they did,” he said. “We need to understand why they chose which side they did and then be able to respect that. Not move them, and definitely not deface them."

Love has family that fought on both sides of the Civil War; he does not believe that the monuments stand for white supremacy. In fact, he believes they stand as lone testaments to the bravery the rebels showed in combat and should be held with high esteem.

“These men who fought for the Confederacy were Missouri sons at the end of the day," he said. 

Groce said Nasheed’s plan to relocate Missouri's Confederate memorials to one place, will protect them from vandals and from any further damage.

“We’re not trying to eliminate this history,” Groce said. “We just want to move them to preserve them, because this did happen, right, we don’t want to sugarcoat it, whitewash our history and say it never happened."

The proposal, Senate Bill 584 would require over 50 monuments, memorials and plaques of all shapes and sizes to be physically moved to the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site in Higginsville. That could take years to accomplish.

Love believes that moving the monuments is a waste of time and opens a door to damage them further, something that he has openly opposed.

After one Springfield monument was spray-painted he made a Facebook post saying the vandals responsible should be, “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”

Love, an active member in the Sons of Confederate Veterans as well as the Sons of Union Veterans group, believes it's the nation's obligation to share the past with future generations.

"I mean you could put these monuments all in one area, but to me that’s like trying to hide them, even though they would be displayed publicly," Love said. "That would be taking away dollars upon dollars from the communities where the historical events happened.”

The monuments in Love’s opinion attract tourists to remote areas in the state where Civil War battles took place. Taking them away, he argues, would cripple the economies of towns like Clinton, Cuba and Centralia that make money from history buffs that find the sites interesting.

Groce thinks this conclusion is an exaggeration.

“I would disagree with him,” Groce said. “People who want to visit these monuments and those who have any interest in seeing them are going to see them no matter where they are."

Groce said, so far, the bill has received praise from other senators at hearings and Nasheed's office has not received many calls or emails regarding the bill.

Groce does expect that to change as plans are finalized in the coming weeks.

A Booneville chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans demonstrated on a Katy Trail overpass on I-70 March 4, displaying a multitude of Confederate flags and symbols. They say there group will continue to rally while legislation continues.

The bill would also ban the sale of Confederate flags in the state. WalMart, Amazon, eBay and the state of California have also banned the flags distribution. 

"I’m sure there will be more backlash to this bill, anytime you implement change there is always a resistance to change," Groce said.

He hopes if the bill passes, other states will soon follow in Missouri’s footsteps.

“Being here in Missouri, we pride ourselves on being the “Show Me State”, Groce said. “I think its time we take the lead and show other southern states what we ought to do and how we should do it.”

Nasheed’s office does not have a price estimate for how much such a massive relocation effort will cost. Boone County moved a five and a half ton red granite boulder known as Confederate Rock to a battlefield in Centralia in 2015. That move cost the county roughly $2,500.

Nasheed's office maintains that the preservation, and relocation of these monuments is worth any price.

Did KOMU 8 News miss a monument? If so, email news@komu.com with the subject line "Confederate Monuments."

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police are investigating several shooting scenes after an unusually violent day, even for... More >>
53 minutes ago Monday, March 18 2019 Mar 18, 2019 Monday, March 18, 2019 10:40:00 AM CDT March 18, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Hundreds of homes have flooded in northwest Missouri after the Missouri River overtopped and... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, March 18 2019 Mar 18, 2019 Monday, March 18, 2019 9:13:00 AM CDT March 18, 2019 in News
CENTRALIA - The Lady Panthers Softball Team slid into success at the end of the season with some off-field accolades.... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, March 18 2019 Mar 18, 2019 Monday, March 18, 2019 8:45:00 AM CDT March 18, 2019 in Sports
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri state capitol is going to be a lot quieter this week with lawmakers' spring break... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, March 18 2019 Mar 18, 2019 Monday, March 18, 2019 6:24:00 AM CDT March 18, 2019 in Top Stories
BOONE COUNTY - Boone County will soon turn 200 years old, and county commissioners are working on a way to... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, March 18 2019 Mar 18, 2019 Monday, March 18, 2019 5:16:00 AM CDT March 18, 2019 in News
MARIES COUNTY - A 13-year-old girl died in a house fire Sunday in Maries County, according to a Facebook post... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 9:10:00 PM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Improvement District is offering a grant incentive to downtown restaurants that would eliminate messy grease bins... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 5:42:00 PM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Yoga Gives-CoMo held its monthly charity yoga event Sunday afternoon in collaboration with Logboat Brewing Co. This... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 4:03:00 PM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - A family is forced to move on after a fire destroyed their home of 32 years Saturday... More >>
20 hours ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 3:26:00 PM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Missouri, are investigating a stabbing death at a hotel. The Kansas... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 1:59:00 PM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) - As rivers and creeks in flooded eastern Nebraska and western Iowa crest Saturday, officials have begun... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 11:17:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three men have been sentenced this week for the kidnapping and torture of a... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 9:03:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Washington University student is suing after he was kicked out of the private St.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 8:56:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police Department increased its presence in Columbia and surrounding areas for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. CPD... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 8:35:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - A home near Centralia was destroyed by fire late Saturday night. The Boone County Fire Protection... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 11:44:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker who's introduced measures that would force adults to own handguns and young... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 8:29:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
SUNRISE BEACH - A Sunrise Beach restaurant became fully engulfed with flames just as crews were trying to get in... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 4:55:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Columbia residents practiced sustainability at the Fix-It Fair Saturday. People brought in broken appliances, furniture and even toys... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 4:19:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 45°
12pm 47°
1pm 49°
2pm 50°
3pm 52°