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Committee presents proposals for future of Civil War statue

February 24, 2021 GMT

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A committee in western Michigan has proposed replacing a statue of a Union soldier and Confederate soldier back to back with a slave child kneeling between them with an obelisk or column inscribed with phrases and viewpoints from the Civil War era.

Other proposals made Monday in Allendale Township include replacing the entire statue with a commemoration to Black Civil War soldier Benjamin Jones or erecting Plexiglas panes around the statue inscribed with historical context of the war, the Holland Sentinel reported.

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No action on the proposals was taken by the Allendale Township board. Allendale Township is west of Grand Rapids.

Calls for the statue to come down began last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and anti-police brutality protests around the country.

Township trustees voted in June to keep the statue at a veterans’ park. The committee then was formed to recommend possible changes.

The majority of committee members called for the statue’s removal or replacement, while others said the monument is meant to honor those on both sides who fought and died in the Civil War, the newspaper reported.

“I struggle to reconcile with the current Civil War statue because of what it depicts,” committee member Tumaini Sango said.

Adding statues to honor Black, indigenous and Latin-X veterans also has been discussed, committee member Christina Berna told the township board.

A billboard paid for by a group of residents and urging the removal of the statue was taken down last month after complaints.

Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died May 25 white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.