Confederate monument controversy in Linn Park

Local News
Confederate memorial in Linn Park Birmingham Alabama_104773

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There is fresh outrage over a Civil War Monument that’s been standing more than a century. A Birmingham activist is calling for the city to remove a confederate monument in Linn Park.

The monument was put up 110 years ago to honor soldiers and sailors who fought for the south in the Civil War. Now that confederate flags have been taken down in Montgomery, activist Frank Matthews says it’s time for the monument to go.

According to an inscription on the stone monument, it was put up in Linn Park in 1905 by the Pelham Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. The cornerstone was laid before the turn of the 19th century.

Frank Matthews of the Outcast Voters League says the confederate monument has been in that location long enough.

Matthews says the mayor of Memphis had a confederate monument removed and he expects Birmingham to do at least that much.

He went to the Birmingham City Council meeting on Tuesday to ask the council and the mayor to have the monument removed.

“You’ve got Charles Linn who the park was named for, he was a racist. He was a confederate captain. You’ve got his statue out there. You’ve got the library named after him. You’ve got the park named after him. So keep Linn, but give us that monument. The monument needs to go.” Frank Matthews, said Outcast Voters League.

WIAT 42 News asked Mayor William Bell about the monument. Bell says regardless of what he would like to see, the fate of the monument is out of his hands.

“That statue and all the other statues come under the prerogative of the Birmingham park recreation board. I think there’s a difference when you’re talking about monuments on public spaces and flags on public spaces. I will leave that decision up to the park board. My personal opinion is any monument that commemorates the tradition of slavery, the tradition of suppression of a race should be removed, but in an official capacity we’re going to let the park board take their responsibility and do whatever they fell is appropriate,” said Bell.

Lutricia McGlown works near Linn Park. She says the monument should be left alone.

“Why would they take it down, as long as it’s been here?” said McGlown.  “Because it’s not bothering anyone. It really isn’t. And I feel it’s a part of history if you ask me.  Either way it goes it’s still going to be what it is.  People, you can’t change the way a person thinks or what they feel or what they want to do. You know? It’s just, it’s life.”

Frank Matthews says he won’t take no for an answer. If the city won’t act to move the monument he says he’ll try to get enough signatures to force a vote on the matter.

“We’re going to do everything that’s necessary under the law,” said Matthews. “The monument needs to go.”

WIAT 42 News reached out to the Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board and the United Daughters of the Confederacy to request a comment, but at press time neither organization had responded.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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