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Campaign against Confederate monuments targets memorial in Capitol Hill cemetery

UPDATE: Turns out, the billboard is located on 15th Ave above the 7-11

A nonprofit dedicated to educating the public “through a diverse array of independent media projects and programs” has included a controversial memorial in Capitol Hill’s Lake View Cemetery in a project formed to inspire the removal of ten Confederate memorials across the country.

The Make it Right project has targeted the Seattle memorial with a billboard along the Spokane Street Viaduct telling commuters about a Confederate memorial “in your backyard.” UPDATE: The organization behind the billboard mistakenly provided the address of the billboard company as the location of the new sign. It stands above the 7-11 at 15th and Denny.

The Lake View monument, erected in 1926, is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a national organization representing a collection of local associations dedicated to marking the contributions made by Southern women during the war, and collecting and preserving “the material necessary for a truthful history of the War Between the States.”

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The Seattle memorial has repeatedly been targeted with vandalism and has faced increasing calls for its removal.

“It is notable that Seattle’s tribute to the Confederacy was carved from a 10-ton piece of Stone Mountain — the site where the Ku Klux Klan held its rebirth ceremony in 1915 — that was shipped across the country from Georgia to Washington,” MIR director Kali Holloway said in a statement on the project. “The UDC sought to ensure that white racist terror was, both figuratively and literally, an elemental part of this monument. While the marker is surrounded by Confederate graves, there are no bodies directly beneath it, meaning it serves only to glorify the army that fought to maintain black chattel slavery. It is not a headstone, but instead a sculptural assertion of white supremacy and power.”

The Make it Right Project is also targeting monuments in places like Dallas, Chapel Hill, and Charlottesville. The Seattle monument is the only one on the list west of Denton, Texas.

The campaign says Michelle Merriweather, president and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, is calling for the memorial’s removal. “The Lake View Cemetery Confederate monument was put up during an era of intense racial violence in the South—a period that had also seen the Klan expand across Washington and Oregon, when lynchings became a common way of terrorizing black communities around the country,” a statement from Merriweather included in the campaign reads. “It continues to send the message it was erected to convey. The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle—which has been fighting on behalf of Seattle’s most vulnerable communities for as long as this monument has stood—is loudly calling for its removal.”

Created by the Independent Media Institute, backers of the Make It Right Project say it is is dedicated to working with activists, artists, historians and media outlets “to remove Confederate monuments and develop post-removal protocols to tell the truth about history.”

Lake View is a private cemetery operated by a nonprofit association. Cemetery officials have said that since the memorial belongs to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, it is that organization’s responsibility to handle repairs and that the monument does not violate any of the cemetery’s policies.

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11 thoughts on “Campaign against Confederate monuments targets memorial in Capitol Hill cemetery

  1. This is so cheesy to be unbelievable. That someone would spend money for a billboard to remove a “monument” in a part of a cemetery that no one visits and is on private property is utterly ridiculous. Why not use it as an educational tool? It might actually get visitors instead of vandals. Here’s a challenge: the city of Seattle has a neighborhood called “Fremont” named after someone who gladly exterminated Indians indiscriminately in Oregon and California as standard procedure and yet no one gives a rat’s ass. Please don’t be a hypocrite and say that his name needs to be enshrined.

    • The difference is that these monuments are glorifying traitors and enemies of our country, whereas Fremont was a bad person, so the comparison falls flat.

      I’m going to go ahead and pull the Godwin’s Law card and ask how these monuments would be any different than an ex-Nazi soldier, with American citizenship, or their descendants, installing a Nazi monument at their grave in an American graveyard?

      Both the CSA and Nazi Germany were separate countries that attacked the USA, resulting in war. Neither should have standing monuments or memorials in our country.

      • So we should also scour every cemetery in the country and remove any gravestone that “The Make it Right project” deems offensive. Hey there’s a statue of Lenin in Seattle, he was responsible for the death of millions.
        It’s just wonderful that The Make it Right project is dedicated to working with activists, artists, historians and media outlets to tell the truth about history.

  2. Mt. Rainier was actually called Mt. Tahoma and named by the indigenous people. Rewriting history and correcting all the wrongs perceived or real is going to be very messy and will be never ending.

  3. Just designate the confederate memorial as pomo/hip/ironic, like the statue of Lenin in Fremont. Problem solved.

  4. I have to argue you with your assertion that it’s in a part of a cemetery nobody visits. It’s prominently located at a fork in the main road, towards the entrance of the cemetery. Moreover, since the cemetery contains the remains of Bruce and Brendan Lee there’s consistency tourist traffic on the grounds. (I enjoy walking in that cemetery and I’ve never seen the Lee family plot without visitors). It’s also fairly insulting to have a monument to the confederacy next door to a GAR cemetery filled with Civil War veterans.

  5. Oh, and by the way Ms. Holloway, it’s private property. There’s nothing you or the city of Seattle can do about it. Well, except encourage grave desecration. Which, in Seattle, would be acceptable…

  6. FYI, the billboard is located at 103 15th Ave. E on Capitol Hill (not as previously posted at Spokane St). The sign company gave their address instead of the billboard’s.