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Ducey stands ground on confederate monuments in wake of racial violence

jefferson-davis-monument

Gov. Doug Ducey has no interest in removing any Confederate monuments on state land even in the wake of weekend violence after a racist demonstration in Virginia.

“It’s important that people know our history,” the governor told reporters Monday. “I don’t think we should try to hide our history.”

The governor, speaking after a publicity event in Buckeye, said he “100 percent condemned” groups like the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Many of those groups were involved in the demonstration in Virginia that later led to one sympathizer driving his vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19.

And Ducey said that 70 percent of Arizonans have moved here from somewhere else.

“It’s a very welcoming place and I want to keep it that way,” he said.

But the governor said those who believe that memorials to the Confederacy don’t belong on public property and are linked to white supremacist violence should not look to him to lead the way to having them removed.

“It’s not my desire or mission to tear down any monuments or memorials,” Ducey said. He said anyone who thinks it’s inappropriate to have monuments on public land to Confederate soldiers or have a portion of a state highway named after Confederacy President Jefferson Davis should take their case to the boards that can change them.

Members of both boards tell Capitol Media Services they have gotten no such requests from the governor. And Ducey said he sees all this as “part of our history.”

“We fought the Civil War and the United States won the Civil War,” he said. “We freed the slaves and we followed up with civil rights after that.”

The governor’s comments about preserving history drew derision from Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen. He said the call has never been to eradicate all monuments that mention the Confederacy.

“The call has been to move away from having any Confederate monuments that are on state property,” he said.

“Any African American and many other individuals should not be required to use our taxpayer dollars to keep up with the upkeep and maintenance of these memorials,” Bolding said. He said that would be comparable to having monuments on public lands to those who fought for the Nazis.

The concerns go beyond the memorial placed across from the Capitol in 1961 by the Daughters of the Confederacy and to the road name and marker for Jefferson Davis Highway. Bolding said he questions even having a monument at Picacho Peak State Park which was the site of the westernmost battle of the Civil War.

“The Confederates, they were terrorists of their times,” he said.”These were people who were saying people who looked like me should not have equal rights, we should be slaves.”

Bolding called it “appalling to have those same people now be asked to not only have that monument on public lands but pay to keep it up.”

And there’s something else.

“I believe the governor has the ability to exhibit influence and leadership,” he said.

Bolding said he’s not even asking Ducey to personally lobby the members of the two panels at issue: The Legislative Governmental Mall Commission which decides what monuments go in the Wesley Bolin Memorial park across from the Capitol, and the Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names which can place official names on mountains, rivers and roads.

“He absolutely has the ability to pick up the phone and reach out to these chairs (of these boards) and have them call a meeting,” he said.

Bolding said that lobbyist Kevin DeMenna, who chairs the mall commission, told him months ago he would convene a meeting in July.

“It’s August,” the lawmaker said. DeMenna did not return repeated calls to his office and cell phone.

Dennis Preisler, who chairs the names board, said no one has approached him about the Jefferson Davis Highway issue. But Preisler said it’s not like his board approved it in the first place, noting the name — and the monument placed astride the road — date back to 1943, decades before his board existed.

A spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, however, said it’s not within the purview of his agency.

There are others, including a monument to Confederate soldiers at the state run Veteran Cemetery in Sierra Vista.

A spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Veterans Services said it is in a section of the cemetery where remains of those who fought in the Indian wars and Civil War were reburied after being dug up in Tucson. She said there also is a monument there to Union soldiers.

She said the one for the Confederacy, erected by a Sons of Confederacy chapter, is engraved “In memorial to Arizona Confederate veterans who sacrificed all in the struggle for independence and the constitutional right of self-government.” But she said there are no Confederate soldiers interred there.

 

Confederate monuments in Arizona:

— Memorial to Arizona Confederate troops, Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix

— Arizona Confederate veterans memorial, Greenwood Cemetery, Phoenix

— Jefferson Davis Highway, monument along portion of U.S. 60 at Peralta Road, Apache Junction

— Arizona Confederate veterans memorial, Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Sierra Vista

— Battle of Picacho Pass monument, Picacho Peak State Park

— Monument at graves for the only Confederate soldiers killed in action, Dragoon Springs stagecoach station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 comments

  1. The Governor is right when he says “It’s important that people know our history,”

    Arizona was not part of the Confederacy.

  2. Not one single Confederate soldier died or was even wounded in Arizona. One indecisive “battle” was fought between two scouting parties, one Union, one Reb, at Picacho Pass, midway between Tucson and Phoenix. Seven Union soldiers from California were killed; there were no casualties among the Rebels (imported from Texas). The story of that accidental conflict makes for good tourism bait, and maybe balances the negative impact of a local prison just off the road.

    The monuments that Gov. Ducey has decided deserve protection therefore commemorate no human beings, only three concepts: the Confederacy, slavery, and insurrection. None of which are Constitutional, all of which are repugnant.

    Gov. Ducey has this time put himself to the right even of Donald Trump (who finally came out against the violence in VA) and VP Pence, and most of the Republican Party Congress as well as the Democrats. Nice going, Doug. You really know how to showcase our wonderful state and its incomparable diversity.

    Thanks for nothing.

  3. Most of these were put up during the civil rights era, they don’t represent the same history supporters claim they do and were put up in a direct response to desegregation. Our politicians don’t represent us. Time to take care of things on our own.

  4. Clearly it has been a mistake to tolerate the honoring of those who support slavery. Confederate monuments perpetuate racism. Racism is alive and flourishing in this country. It has been festering below the surface, denied by racists, until recent politics have opened the way for open expression once again. There is no separation between the Confederacy and racism. If we want to “remember our history”, then we should erect statues to slaves, to freedom fighters, to those who sacrificed to oppose slavery then and racism now.

  5. It’s funny how society gets so upset on a statue or a confederate monuments. But these same people don’t care that 690,000 Arizonans can get fired from their job, throw out their home for being gay or transgender. Legal gay marry couples are put so far down the adoption list that it’s almost impossible to adopt. Where are you priority something that does not effect your life or real change to people life.

  6. Jefferson Davis was a traitor to our country. It would have made just as much sense to name the highway after Benedict Arnold.

  7. Ken, it”s all the same ideology of cultural oppression. I would bet that the majority of those offended by the monuments to treason on a grand scale also understand your situation and daily fight for gender equality.

  8. I am disgusted by the murder of the unborn. I don’t wan’t my tax money supporting that.
    Killing innocent souls is NAZI behavior.

  9. You make a good point. We so often get distracted by events that are easy to take a side on. Personally, I think there is only one political issue: big money in politics. Even more important than jobs or gay rights, because as long as money rules our govt, all decisions are ultimately made for the rich.

  10. It’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later, the artifacts of the Confederacy will be removed. The boomers will die off with vague and mostly inaccurate memories of what the Confederacy was about, and the young and non-white will assume the top pedestal.

  11. Remove all copies of the books, movies, DVD’s VHS’s and other memorabilia of “Gone With The Wind”, and it’s author, HBS. Make it a ‘federal’ crime to display, rerun, own, share, distribute or otherwise contribute to the encouragement of that film, story, history or other medium of expression…of that so-called ‘historic novel’. Will that satisfy all the needs expressed here to “WhiteWash” (excuse the expression) the history of the greatest internal conflict of this country (until now) ever seen in the US, even though most (98%) of OUR population have never thought about it in those ways?

    Bet me…Semper Fi!

  12. There is a difference between remembering history and honoring bad people. If you read history, you also know that Confederate monuments were an attempt to revive southern (read slave) culture and to remind Blacks that racism is alive and well.

  13. Maybe Ducey should listen to Mitch Landrieu’s speech regarding the removal of confederate monuments. Remembrance, not Reverance!

  14. ****, you conflate entirely different media, methods, and laws to make a dubious point, that the past shall be preserved as you think it should “uber alles” (excuse the expression). The monuments went up during Reconstruction, when the original KKK was organized and operated, with help from rich Southerners; and again in the early 20th Century, when the KKK was revived and set about four or five decades of lynchings and general persecution of black Southerners. “Gone With the Wind,” now that you mention it, was a white-washing of Southern history. Sure, you can see it — but at your own cost, because it was made by a private firm that wants to be paid for the privilege. The monuments in question are installed in public places with the consent of formal government. Maybe you will preserve them in your front yard? That would be fitting.

  15. PS The **** in the message above refers to the name given by one the earlier commenters. Perhaps I should have begun, “Richard…”? Imagine, blue-nosed online robots!

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