The NW Museum of Legends and Lore will never completely leave Capitol Hill, it seems. Fresh off rejection by the City of Seattle for its permit for the annual Broadway Pride street festival, the museum’s directors are leading the charge targeting, of all things, the United Confederate Veterans Memorial in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery.
Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson say they will be there Monday when a group including a former president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will call on the Seattle City Council to have the 92-year-old memorial removed from the 15th Ave E cemetery.
“The NW Museum of Legends and Lore has been requesting the monuments removal for the last two years,” the announcement reads. “We feel this will be a positive step forward for the generations who fought for unity, the current generation and future generations.”
Though the museum might seem a strange messenger for the cause, it might be one worth fighting for.
The memorial hewn from a “10-ton” block of “Stone Mountain, Georgia” rock was created by the Seattle chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy reportedly with money raised at “Dixie Day” during the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. The group included the actual daughters and wives of Confederate soldiers living in Seattle but the placement came during a wave of historical revisionism and romanticizing of the Confederate South — a wave some would say continues to ripple today.
The museum claims that despite the memorial’s presence in the private cemetery operated by a nonprofit association, the city has the right to require its removal.
“We encourage the Seattle City Council to acknowledge the monument is in a publicly visible location and therefore should fall under current ordinances to remove offensive markings visible to the public,” the group writes. “We also encourage Lakeview Cemetery to acknowledge the monument may fall outside their own policy of headstones as it is predominantly a political party monument.”
In 2005, parts of the bronze work including an insignia, cross of honor, crossed bayonets, and a bronze plaque of Robert E. Lee’s head were stripped and stolen but have since been restored. In the summer of 2015, the memorial was targeted — again — by vandals in the wake of a shooting at a Black church shooting in Charleston that left nine dead. This summer, Mayor Ed Murray said the Lake View monument should be removed.
Removal is not quite enough for the NW Museum of Legends and Lore. The group says it also calling on City Hall to “possibly develop a more respective non-political memorial to the veterans” and to “return in a symbolic gesture the granite back to Stone Mt. Georgia – the recognized home of the resurgence of the KKK.”
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