Committee recommends controversial Civil War statue in West Michigan be removed, replaced

Allendale Twp. Confederate Soldier Statue
Posted at 9:05 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 09:05:14-04

ALLENDALE, Mich. — An advisory committee is recommending Allendale Township leaders remove and replace a controversial Civil War statue.

On Monday, the Garden of Honor Memorial Committee suggested a statue with three diverse Union soldiers instead be put in. It would feature one white, Black, and Native American soldier inspired by veterans from West Michigan who served during the war.

The current statue depicts a Confederate and Union soldier standing side-by-side with a slave child at their feet holding a sign that says “Freedom to All Slaves.”

Last year, protests prompted the committee's formation. Several dozen community members and activist groups began calling for its removal, saying it’s racist and offensive.

Earlier this year, the committee offered three possible changes to the statue, but ultimately requested five additional meetings to further decide on a final recommendation.

At Monday’s meeting, the committee also recommending expanding the garden so service members representing the War of 1812, Mexican-American War, and the War on Terror be included. Another idea presented was adding QR codes to each of the statues so visitors could access more information with smartphones.

Trustees are expected to vote on the statue’s future at its June 14 meeting. The recommendations could be adopted as is, modified, or voted down.

It’s not clear how long it would take to complete the recommendations if approved or what would be done with the statue in the meantime.