King George’s Confederate Monument Moved to Cemetery | Local News


Against a backdrop of pine and oak trees, and with tombstones and angels in the foreground, the 24-foot-tall beige monument seems to rise from the ground of its new home.

The obelisk, dedicated in 1869 with the inscription honoring the ‘officers and soldiers of King George’s Confederate army, who gave their lives for the South’, was moved from the courthouse lawn on Saturday from King George County to the grounds of Historyland Memorial Park, off US 301.

The monument is visible from the highway and stands along the tree line in an older part of the cemetery which is also the final resting place of veterans from other eras. Nearby is a gravestone for Major John Burd, who served in the U.S. Army and died in 1827. There is also a marker for World War II naval officer George L. Wallace and William Henderson, chief maintainer of the Navy during Vietnam.

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“I thought that was a good place to put it,” said Wayne Bushrod, president of the King George NAACP who lobbied for more than two years to have the monument moved to a private setting. “And I’m glad it wasn’t destroyed. Who would want a piece of history to be destroyed? It’s just in a better place.

County resident Dave Jones first raised the issue of the Confederate Memorial at King George’s Board of Supervisors in July 2020. His great-great-grandfather was among those who fought for the Confederacy, but Jones, who is white, said he could not support his ancestor’s decision to take up arms to keep black people enslaved.

He repeatedly asked when the ‘Confederate traitor memorial’ would be moved out of the courthouse plaza as other such memorials were being moved – or destroyed – following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd. The black man died after a white Minneapolis police officer handcuffed him and pinned him to the ground below his knee.

Jones saw the “entire extraction” of the monument, which began on Friday with the delineation of the area and the preparatory work. It continued early Saturday morning as the base and obelisk were dismantled, piece by piece, by Stratified, a Washington-area company that paid $38,000 to do the work.

“Now the monument resides in a more appropriate location,” Jones said.

Other members of the community and the NAACP chapter had hoped to witness the removal of the memorial during some sort of formal viewing. County Administrator Chris Miller said in May that King George would work with Stratified to develop a timeline and would “certainly make a public notice effort to get the word out when we have a firm date. It will be a big problem, I’m sure,” he added.

But county officials apparently shifted gears and chose to leave “with as little fanfare as possible,” Miller said Monday.

“We didn’t have an elaborate celebration or a schedule associated with it,” he said. “People can go take as many photos as they want now that it’s over.”

But Bushrod, who also works as a background investigator and evidence technician with the King George Sheriff’s Office, told about 30 people in an email last week that several county officials had received “several threatening correspondences with reference to to the movement of this statue. They believe it is in everyone’s best interest (citizens, contractors and others) that specific dates and times not be publicly announced.

Jolicia Ward, a county resident, army officer and political candidate, replied to Bushrod’s email that she was “really looking forward to witnessing this historic moment in person,” but was grateful that the monument be moved.

“It is a painful reminder of past and present institutionalized racism in the United States,” she wrote in an email.

Bushrod said he was also looking forward to “witnessing history in the making, right here in King George”, but added that by not announcing the date there would be no parking issues , crowd “as well as any violent behavior initiated by strangers wanting to stop and disrupt the process of moving the statue.

According to the inscription on the statue, the monument was erected as a “tribute of gratitude and respect from the Ladies Memorial Association” to King George. When controversy over its location erupted two years ago, county officials voted in November 2021 to move it to the cemetery when David Storke, owner of Historyland, agreed to provide the space and look after its maintenance.

Tourism funds will be used for signs directing visitors along the Civil War Trail to the county’s Confederacy Monument in Historyland.

“It’s a memorial to veterans and what better place to put a memorial to the dead than a cemetery,” Storke said.


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