To the Editor:
Mayor Francis Slay’s misguided attempt to rewrite the history of our nation, our state, and our city by either removing the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park or making some sanctimonious gesture to change its inscription will achieve nothing.
Forest Park is one of the largest city parks in our nation and it should be large enough to contain statues of Civil War Union Generals as well as the Confederate Memorial.
Our nation, our state, and our city were divided between Union and Confederate sympathies. The state of Missouri had the third highest number of Civil War battles, only behind Virginia and Tennessee. Removing this monument or replacing the inscription on it will not change the fact that the Civil War was the bloodiest war fought in our nation’s history.
A more enlightened effort would be to educate area citizens about important locations and events from the Civil War in St. Louis and the surrounding areas. Very little information has been publicized about the importance of Fairgrounds Park, McDowell Medical School (Gratiot Prison), and the corral at Grand and Cass avenues.
Before expending any money and effort revising history, the grave of Harriet Scott (Dred Scott’s wife) should be located in Greenwood Cemetery and a new monument erected on her behalf. Greenwood Cemetery is located between Hillsdale and Velda Village Hills on St. Louis Avenue. In its current state, it is in deplorable condition and needs a great deal of effort to make it a valuable community asset of historical interest. Besides Harriet Scott, many Buffalo Soldiers from the late 1800s also are buried there. They also deserve a respectable burial site.
If Mayor Slay’s only concern is to garner more votes for his next election, then he will proceed in his attempt to rewrite our history, otherwise he should investigate how he can bring us together rather than divide us.
Edward J. Hamm