Descendants of Confederate soldiers memorialized in Forsyth Park offer support of statue removal

Descendants of Confederate soldiers memorialized in Forsyth Park offer support of statue removal
For the second time this month, descendants of Confederate soldiers memorialized in Forsyth Park are reaching out to Savannah City Council offering their support to have their statues removed. (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For the second time this month, descendants of Confederate soldiers memorialized in Forsyth Park are reaching out to Savannah City Council offering their support to have their statues removed.

Busts of Confederate States Army Major General Lafayette McLaws and Colonel Francis Bartow sit on opposite sides of the Confederate Memorial in Forsyth.

The descendants of Francis Bartow are asking for the City to consider a few things, and wanted to be on the record with their requests.

“I thought that the task force report from 2017 got it right. Seemed to me that was a very deliberative process, lots of people were involved with that, lots of investigation,” said Rick Rees, Bartow descendant.

Rick Rees and some of his family members sent a letter over the weekend to Savannah City Council, voicing their support of a 2017 memorial task force report that suggested moving the busts of Bartow and Lafayette McLaws to Laurel Grove North Cemetery. That conversation has been renewed in recent weeks following vandalism to both busts.

The Historic Monuments and Sites Commission suggested earlier this month there could be a loophole in state law that prohibits moving the statues: perhaps they could be moved in order to preserve them, in light of recent vandalism.

McLaws’ descendants sent a letter to council offering to buy the bust and have it moved, and Rees says that in part factored into his family drafting their own proposal to Council.

“Seeing that they had done that also sort of gave us the idea that maybe it’s time to organize ourselves and go on the record about this,” said Rees.

Rees says if the bust can’t be moved, he supports putting other contextual information addressing the memorials installation.

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