May 25, 2021 - News

The rise and fall of Arkansas' Confederate monuments

Data: Southern Poverty Law Center; Note: There are some monuments with unknown dedication dates and they are not represented in the bar chart; Map: Michelle McGhee/Axios

As the national conversation about Confederate symbols in public spaces has gained momentum over the past year, here's a look at the state of monuments in Arkansas:

  • As of last year, there were 39 Confederate monuments throughout the state, including the Texas Memorial at the Pea Ridge battlefield in Northwest Arkansas.
  • Statewide, four have been removed or relocated.
  • Most recently, a 100-year-old monument of a generic Confederate soldier was taken down in Bentonville and moved to a private park.

Why it matters: Many see monuments erected to celebrate the Confederacy as an embrace of the violent, racist ideology that drove the Civil War.

  • Calls for their removal have increased across the country since the police killing of George Floyd one year ago, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which provided data for the map.

Yes, but: Several measures that aim to dismantle Confederate symbolism in Arkansas have failed recently.

  • The state House of Representatives' attempt to end Confederate Flag Day failed in April. It'll still be celebrated on the Saturday before Easter each year.
  • Several attempts to omit one star on the state flag commemorating Arkansas' historical membership in the Confederacy also have failed.

Plus: Little Rock is potentially facing a legal battle over three Confederate markers that were removed from the area near MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History last summer.

  • A lawyer representing two Arkansas chapters of Confederate heritage groups threatened to sue last week to have the markers returned.
  • He cites a new act that prohibits relocating Civil War monuments on public property, despite the removal occurring before the legislation was signed into law in April.

Of note: Four monuments listed on the map don't have dedication dates, so they appear in the graphic before others but aren't represented in the bar chart.


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