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Jefferson City has graciously agreed to return the Civil War marker to the Missouri chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The marker was given to the city by the UDC back in 1933, but some city residents pressured the Jefferson City Council to remove it recently.

Perhaps this will end the controversy that suddenly reared up 87 years after the donation of a marker that most city residents never knew existed.

It was a marker with a seemingly innocuous inscription: "Deciding against attack, the Confederate Army under Gen. Sterling Price turned from Jefferson City, October 7, 1864."

But, in a year when Black Lives Matter rose to the forefront of our society, it was much more.

Opponents of the marker correctly argued the donor of the marker had an agenda beyond simply preserving history. UDC has glorified Confederate soldiers and the Southern cause. Yes, the Southern cause was about states' rights. But it was specifically about one of those "rights" — slavery.

So it's understandable why the city, especially in the light of our society's evolved views of civil rights, would object to keeping a gift from an organization that once was involved in building monuments to commemorate the Ku Klux Klan.

Opponents also argued the one-sentence, factual inscription has led to the myth that Price declined to attack Union forces in the city because of his love for our city.

We don't believe the inscription implies this, just as we don't believe the myth itself. Documented history shows Price himself avoided conflict because he wrongly believed his troops were outnumbered here. Was his "love of Jefferson City" an outlying factor in his decision? Perhaps, but there's no such proof.

The bottom line is that, rather than blindly submitting to today's cancel culture, we should strive to preserve our history — the good, the bad and the ugly. The key is to do so while putting everything in its proper perspective.

A remade marker with a new inscription could have given a more complete picture of this snapshot in history. In lieu of that, we need to take it for what it is.

Perhaps the ending of this chapter in history is appropriate. The marker won't be publicly displayed in Jefferson City, but it won't be lost to history either. UDC plans to place it at the Missouri Civil War Museum at Jefferson Barracks Cemetery in St. Louis. Meanwhile, former City Council member Edith Vogel will privately display a replica on her property, which served as Camp Lillie during the Civil War.

News Tribune

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