City News

Madison committee makes final recommendations regarding confederate monuments

Madison’s Equal Opportunities Commision recommended Thursday that both confederate monuments at Forest Hill cemetery be removed. 

Madison’s Equal Opportunities Commision recommended Thursday that both confederate monuments at Forest Hill cemetery be removed. 

Image By: Gina Heeb

Madison’s Equal Opportunities Commission made their final recommendations Thursday to remove two confederate monuments at Forest Hill Cemetery.

The recommendations will be sent to the Landmarks Commision, who will aggregate the recommendations of the EOC and the Board of Park Commissioners and make a final suggestion to the Common Council before a decision is made.

When the EOC, park commissioners and Landmarks Commision held a joint meeting on Jan. 30, their options were to get rid of both monuments, keep both or alter the messaging inscribed. They also considered keeping one or both and adding a third monument that would add proper context to the monuments.

Although there was debate among the commission members, one thing was clear: Both monuments had to be removed.

The structures, which are located at a part of the cemetery known as Confederate’s Rest, were vandalized on Aug. 15, prompting a local debate over the need to remove the monuments.

“It’s a representation of what that meant and who put it there,” said Commision President Corinda Rainey-Moore, speaking as to why the large monument drew such backlash.

At that time, the smaller of the two was removed and the larger one, on which “Good night white pride” was spray painted, was kept due to a lack of equipment available to remove it.

The large monument dates back to 1906, after the organization United Daughters of the Confederacy fundraised for its erection

Mayor Paul Soglin decided the city needed to develop a long-term plan regarding the existence of both monuments.

At Tuesday’s meeting, members addressed a fear that the monuments would be showcased if they were given to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

“There was some concern that they might be in display in a different context that might also not be appropriate to the actual history,” said citizen commision member Caitlin Badsing.

After the monuments were removed, the commission elected to recommend transferring the monuments to the historical society “for storage” and not erect another monument in their place.

On top of their final recommendation, the commision reaffirmed their stance on similar matters in the future.

“The EOC also affirms their commitment to rejecting all racist monuments, language and hate groups in the City of Madison,” the commission wrote in their recommendation.

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