Poll Shows Most Americans Want To Keep Confederate Monuments, As Massachusetts Boards Up Its Own

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2017/08/17/poll-shows-most-americans-want-to-keep-confederate-monuments-as-massachusetts-boards-up-its-own/

A national poll conducted immediately following last weekend’s events in Charlottesville by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, in conjunction with National Public Radio, shows that a healthy majority of American adults still oppose the removal of statues and monuments honoring Confederate leaders.

According to the poll, which surveyed 1,125 adults 18 years of age and older, 62 percent of respondents supported the statues “remaining as a historic symbol” while 27 percent agreed that they should be “removed because they are offensive to some people.”

Approximately 11 percent answered “unsure.” 

In addition, 44 percent of Democrats polled answered that the monuments should remain while 47 percent answered that they should be removed.

“There are differences of opinion across racial lines,” a press release related to the poll states. “67 percent of white residents and 65 percent of Latinos recognize the historical significance of the statues. African Americans divide.  44 percent think the statues should remain, and 40 percent want them to be removed because they are offensive.”

The poll results,released Thursday morning, followed a doubling-down by Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration on its decision to board-up the Bay State’s lone monument to the Confederacy, a stone plaque erected in 1963 on Georges Island in the Boston Harbor remembering the names of 13 Confederate soldiers who died while detained inside the island’s Fort Warren.

The monument has remained in place since 1963, when it was placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

“Governor Baker believes we should refrain from the display of symbols, especially in our public parks, that do not support liberty and equality for the people of Massachusetts,” Lizzy Guyton, Baker’s director of communications, maintained in a statement issued in June. “Since this monument is located on a national historic landmark, the governor supports the department working with the (state) historical commission to explore relocation options.”

The monument may literally be written in stone, but boards shielding it from public consumption went up in mid-June, according to WBUR.    

Guyton was referring to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which has outlined the complications involved in simply removing the monument. According to DCR, the processes for swift removal are being hampered by Fort Warren’s status as a national historic landmark:

Baker in 2015 initially defended the practice of southern states flying the Confederate flag, defending it as “tradition,” only to backtrack and apologize.

The boards went up over the Georges Island monument on June 18, according to Boston Magazine — 10 days after a WGBH report outlining its history and the motives behind the United Daughters of the Confederacy organization that installed it and others around the country.

UNC Charlotte Historian Karen Cox is the author of ‘Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture,’ the definitive book about the UDC,” WGBH reporter Adam Reilly pointed out in his June 8 report. “As she explains it, after the Civil War, the group worked to promulgate the mythology of the Lost Cause, which glorified all things Southern.

“Even today, United Daughters of the Confederacy cites establishing ‘a truthful history of the War Between the States’ as one of its primary goals.”

Additional results from the Marist/NPR poll:

 

Meanwhile, Baker on Thursday joined House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) denouncing the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who descended upon Charlottesville last weekend. While Baker issued a proclamation, DeLeo and Rosenberg offered a joint resolution:

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