On Oct. 2, an announcement was made and confirmed that the only Confederate monument located in Massachusetts will be removed.
According to the Boston Globe, the Secretary of the Commonwealth stated that the monument will be removed sometime after Columbus Day and will be relocated to the Massachusetts Archives on the University of Massachusetts Boston’s campus.
In June, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released a statement about the monument but did not elaborate on his reasoning. According to a WBUR report released on Aug. 16, Governor Baker’s statement was released by Communications Director Lizzy Guyton. The statement read, “Governor Baker believes we should refrain from the display of symbols, especially in our public parks, that do not support liberty and equality for the people of Massachusetts." Questions of the Confederate memorial’s removal stirred debate and conversation that month in the wake of the violence that the nation witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The monument was built in 1963 to honor the 13 Confederate soldiers who died during their imprisonment on Georges Island, near the Boston Harbor during the Civil War. It was the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), a coalition of Southern women who dedicate commemorations to Confederate soldiers, who built the monument.
The UDC Headquarters is in Richmond, Virginia and during the 1960s the UDC coalition had a prominent chapter in Boston. According to WBUR, the Boston chapter is no longer functioning or active.
The Georges Island site is recognized as a historical landmark in US military history. According to WBUR, any alterations to the site are managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
In June, when Governor Baker proposed his plan to remove Massachusetts’ Confederate monument, Secretary of State William Galvin, the person in charge of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, filed a Project Notification Form (PNF) elaborating on all of the changes and options that will need to be taken into consideration in regards to the memorial’s removal. Where the monument would be moved to was one of the detailings in that document. According to the Boston Globe, the PNF was sent to the state’s historical commission earlier this month on Sept. 12. State officials have said that the DCR is “planning the safe removal and delivery of the memorial.”
In the past few months, officials in Baltimore and New Orleans have been removing Confederate monuments and statues as citizens of those cities have regarded them as “symbols of white supremacy and racism,” the Boston Globe reported this past Tuesday.
The PNF also noted that state officials are planning to return the Confederate monument back to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In August, UDC President General Patricia M. Bryson released a statement criticizing claims of white supremacy:
“Join us in denouncing hate groups and affirming that Confederate memorial statues and monuments are part of our shared American history and should remain in place.”
The monument is expected to be relocated to Massachusetts Archives in Boston sometime after Columbus Day and over the course of the next few weeks.