By Neal Smith
A statue built in honor of Confederate prisoners of war who died at an Indianapolis camp during the Civil War is on its way out. This morning, crews dismantled the Garfield Park memorial, as local media and a handful of area residents watched.
The statue had been located in the park for more than 90 years. It was built in 1912 and previously housed in Greenlawn Cemetery. Indianapolis officials and members of the Ku Klux Klan wanted the memorial to be prominently displayed, so it was moved to Garfield Park in 1928.
Last week, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett ordered that the statue be moved. The city had attempted to donate the statue to a museum without success. “Our streets are filled with voices of anger and anguish, testament to centuries of racism directed at black Americans,” said Mayor Hogsett in a statement. “We must name these instances of discrimination and never forget our past – but we should not honor them. Whatever original purpose this grave marker might once have had, for far too long it has served as nothing more than a painful reminder of our state’s horrific embrace of the Ku Klux Klan a century ago. For some time, we have urged that this grave monument belongs in a museum, not in a park, but no organization has stepped forward to assume that responsibility. Time is up, and this grave marker will come down.”
Following recent protests, Several American cities with confederate statues have also ordered their removal.