Sunday, June 21, 2015

Symbols Honoring Pro Slavery Leaders in Washington State

Matthew Yglesias discusses the memorials to leaders that defended and fought for slavery: vox/things-named-after-confederate-leaders.

While, the South and Civil War are far from Washington State, the issue of memorials to pro slavery leaders came up in Washington State in 2002 when Hans Dunshee, a state legislator, observed a memorial to Jefferson Davis at Peace Arch State Park in Blaine. Dunshee put forward legislation that was passed to have the memorial to Davis removed from the park. Disclosure: I put forward a resolution to the Whatcom County Council to support the removal of the memorial; that resolution passed.

The memorial was associated with the north-south highway through western Washington being named the Jefferson Davis Highway. The highway name was never an official name. It was only called the Jefferson Davis Highway by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and they were responsible for placing the memorial next to the highway. Another memorial had been placed next to the highway in Vancouver, Washington. That memorial was also removed a few years before by local City of Vancouver leaders.

This paper: jeffersondavishighwaypacificnorthwest.pdf provides the details and a social perspective on the history and debate on the issue.

The granite memorials were given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They built a private park adjacent to Interstate 5 near Ridgefield, Washington and placed the two monuments there jefferson-davis-park

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And Robert E. Lee Elementary School in East Wenatchee. There are occasional rumblings about changing that name, but, gee whiz, the school is "named for a great man". Such public institutions "honor men who are heroes to many, villains to some, with noble qualities to raise up and flaws to ignore, or at last downplay." So much veiled racist BS abounds all over this country. And, as we have recently seen, not so veiled, so that bigots feel comfortable coming right out into the open. I wonder why that is...