February 1, 2018
For Immediate Release
Confederate Task Force Makes Recommendation to Council
SAVANNAH, GA (February 1, 2018) — The City of Savannah Task Force presented its recommendation to the Mayor and Aldermen today regarding the City’s confederate monuments.
The City of Savannah issued a call for public comment during a two- week period in 2017 from October 30 through November 13. A total of 4,901 responses were received via postal mail, email and online survey.
Of those responses, 2,442 identified themselves as Savannah residents. The task force decided to place greater weight on the opinions of Savannah residents as this is a Savannah memorial.
Slightly less than two-thirds of the Savannah residents who responded to the call for public comment desired no changes to the memorial, while slightly more than one-third of the Savannah residents who responded felt that there needed to be some form of change to the memorial.
Comprised of preservationists, historians and administrators of monuments and marker programs, the Confederate Memorial Task Force held several meetings in the following months and concluded to move forward with the following eight recommendations:
1. Rename from “Confederate Monument” to Civil War Memorial.” Renaming it to “Civil War Memorial” serves two purposes: “Memorial” returns to the original intent of it being a memorial to the dead; and “Civil War” rather than “Confederate” makes it more inclusive to all of Savannah’s Civil War fallen.
2. Preserve all historical material on the memorial. While the task force explored replacing the “confederate soldier” statue at the top, it was decided the statue represented the “everyman” soldier rather than a specific individual. In keeping with Savannah’s long tradition of preservation, the Task Force does not recommend removing historical material.
3. Install a new bronze plaque on the blank horizontal panel on the south side of the memorial. The former memorial was dedicated to the confederate dead in 1875. It will be rededicated to all the dead of the American Civil War in 2018.
4. Do not alter the blank vertical panel on the south side of the memorial. Already making use of the blank horizontal panel, the task force encouraged leaving the vertical panel blank so future generations could add to the monument as they see fit.
5. Relocate the McLaws and Bartown monuments to Laurel Grove North Cemetery.These monuments were added to the Forsyth Park site 35 years after the erection of the memorial and are distractions from the original memorial. A more appropriate location to preserve these monuments is the Laurel Grove North Cemetery where both are buried.
6. Once relocated, the Task force recommends not replacing the Bartow and McLaws monuments at the memorial site.
7. Preserve the fence around the memorial in the current elliptical shape.
8 The community expands the story of the Civil War, its causes, and its effects throughout Savannah, other than at the Forsyth Park Confederate Memorial Site
The recommendations will be on the February 14th City Council agenda for Council approval.
To view the entire taskforce report, click here.