What is the future of Confederate monuments in Arkansas?
There are still a lot of questions on what will be the future of Arkansas’ Confederate monuments following unrest in major cities across the country as several local and state governments decide to remove confederate monuments off of their pedestals.
The public scrutiny of monuments honoring the Confederacy follows a group of protesters made up of white supremacists who demonstrated against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville this past Saturday, along with outrage over President Trump's response to the violence.
On the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol you’ll find three Confederate monuments, all erected in the early 1900s still intact.
“We have not had any specific concerns here locally,” said Chris Powell, spokesperson for the Secretary of State.
Powell explained to KATV that any monument that is placed at the Capitol or removed off of its grounds must be approved by the legislator.
“Any monument that goes up at the capitol has to be approved by the legislator. It’s up to the vote of the legislature so if any citizen has an opinion on that they want to contact their state legislature. They are free to do that,” said Powell.
In the meantime, both Governor Asa Hutchinson along with the Mayor of Little Rock, Mark Stodola are also weighing in on the matter.
“Every generation must affirm and live American values anew. Equal opportunity and respect for all races is fundamental to what is great about our country. The whole concept of white supremacy or neo-nazi dogma must be rejected at every turn. After the Charlottesville violence I consistently spoke out against the racism and hatred and violence displayed before a national audience. When it comes to the debate about our historical monuments, we cannot change history but we must learn from it. We should not start taking down monuments just because they remind us of an unpleasant past. Refusing to face our history by dismantling it is a mistake. We should use our historical markers as teaching opportunities to provide greater leadership for the future. Part of the legislation I signed to separate the holidays of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee was to use the history of the Civil War as a teaching opportunity for our students.
In regard to the comments of President Trump, I am grateful that he clearly denounced white supremacy in very clear terms. But this is a moment that we need our leaders to take every opportunity to educate this generation about the pure evil of nazism and to bring our country together."
"Little Rock does not have prominent statues on city property such as those in the cities and states you reference. However, in recent history, I was involved when we rightfully renamed Springer Boulevard and Little Rock citizens were respectful of one another even with powerful disagreements."