United Daughters of Confederacy say Confederate statue relocation was in works before protests
The Arkansas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy announced this week it has been in dialogue for more than a year with community leaders in Northwest Arkansas about the future of a monument and statue on the Bentonville Square that was vandalized last yeare.
The monument is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and it has stood on the Bentonville Square since 1908 in an agreement with Benton County. The Associated Press reported Tuesday the Confederate soldier statue was being moved to a private park, but the report did not note how long the groups had been in discussion in light of recent racially charged assemblies.
Movement of the statue from the Bentonville Square has been called for by Shame of Bentonville. Sheree Miller, a member of Shame of Bentonville, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette movement of the statue would her grandchildren and relatives to come to Bentonville Square “without being ashamed.”
“The UDC is committed to preserving the history of the statue and agreed to work with the Benton County Historical Society and other community members and ultimately decided to relocate the monument to a permanent private park, named James H. Berry Park, adjacent to the Bentonville Cemetery,” the Arkansas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy stated. Berry was the 14th Arkansas governor and a U.S. Senator.
The process to relocate the monument will begin in August after the UDC submits an application under the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to maintain the monument on the National Registry of Historic Places. After relocation, the Benton County Historical Society will own and operate the park and display the monument for the benefit of the residents of Benton County and the rich Civil War history of the Northwest Arkansas region. The UDC will continue to own the monument.
“We believe today’s decision is in the best interest of preserving our state’s history, educating the public, and memorializing Benton County veterans,” said Joey McCutchen, a Fort Smith-based attorney representing the UDC. “The approach followed during this process could serve as a business model for other communities to follow and also a model of peace, civility, and respect.”