KANSAS CITY — A request to remove a monument on Ward Parkway that honors the “Loyal Women of the Old South” is prompting people to stop and consider whether it’s offensive.
The memorial at 55th and Ward Parkway has stood in Kansas City for 83 years.
“This is something that’s been bothering me for a few years now,” said Peter Gogol, of Prairie Village, Kan.
Gogol asked Kansas City Parks commissioners to remove the monument. He says he was inspired by the nationwide debate underway over Confederate memorials in public places.
Gogol believes there’s a difference between remembering and revering the past.
He says the monument, erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1934, would be better suited at graveyard, battlefield site or museum.
Gogol says his grandmother was enslaved by the Nazis in Poland during World War II, and he believes human trafficking remains an all too common problem in the world today.
“It all goes back to slavery being bad,” Gogol said. “In the American Civil War the Confederacy fought to keep it in place. Key support for that fight did come from some of the Loyal Women of the Old South. This monument honors them. In 2017, I don’t think Kansas City should be revering people who fought to keep slavery in place.”
Parks commissioners say they are going to review the request in the context of today’s moral perspectives and discuss it in-depth. The parks board may also hear what the public thinks about removing the monument.
Others want the memorial to remain as it is, saying that it prompts future generations to ask questions about who we are and why this was important to our history.
“Slavery is reprehensible, I’m proud of my Confederate ancestors,” said Chip Buckner, president of the Civil War Roundtable of Kansas City.
Buckner doesn’t understand why anyone would find the monument to be offensive.
“On one side it says: to the Loyal Women of the South. I don’t know that that’s terribly offensive,” Buckner said. “On the other side is a verse of a poem from the Conquered Banner, which I will paraphrase a long poem. It says: the South lost, let’s put away the flag and get on with life. I’m not sure that’s revering the South either.”