JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Jefferson City commission is backing an effort to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Sterling Price on Moreau Drive.
Jefferson City's Commission on Human Relations voted Friday to write a letter to the city council backing the monument's removal.
The monument was first put up by the United Daughters of the Confederacy on April 6, 1933.
Paul Kiekhaefer of Jefferson City started the initiative to remove the monument after seeing the protests over the deaths of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor.
"The minimum we can do here is address this monument and whether or not this will be a full removal or what the replacement would look like," Kiekhaefer said. "That's an open discussion, but it's important we discuss how to remember history in Jefferson City."
The Daughters of the Confederacy website said even though some people may view memorials as unworthy, others want to remember the bravery of their ancestors.
"To others, they simply represent a memorial to our forefathers who fought bravely during four years of war," the website states.
Kiekhaefer said the vote Friday morning will help keep the issue alive and hopefully bring attention to it.
Commissioner Frank Rycyk opposed the removal. He said the monument should not be removed just because it was put up by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
"You are attacking the source, you are not attacking the argument," Rycyk said. "Instead of removing it I would like an addendum to this monument describing briefly the battle that never was."
Price was Missouri's governor from 1853 to 1857 before taking command of the Confederacy-aligned Missouri State Guard against Union forces. He mounted a final campaign to take the state in 1864 but was defeated, eventually fleeing to Texas.
Kiekhaefer said the union was never honored on the monument for their efforts to deter the Confederate army.
"We need a monument or sign to tell the full history of the battle that never was because it is an interesting part of history and we shouldn't forget it, but this current monument is not the way to do it," he said.
The debate over monuments to Confederate figures and the Confederacy has taken on new life amid a national conversation on race and civil rights. However, this isn't the first time the issue has stirred action locally.
Confederate Rock, a monument to Boone County soldiers who fought for the South, was removed from the courthouse lawn in 2015 and taken to a Civil War battlefield in Centralia.