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.
You can learn more at independentmediainstitute.org/make-it-right/.