Confederate monument removed from City of Charleston park

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A Confederate monument was removed from Ruffner Park Monday morning, according to city officials.

The memorial was erected in 1922 in honor of the Kanawha Riflemen by the Kanawha Riflemen Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy.

In a statement sent to 13 News by Mayor Amy Goodwin’s Office:

“The City of Charleston removed the confederate monument out of Ruffner Park, which is owned and maintained by the City of Charleston. It was the right thing to do to remove it, and so we did earlier today.”

Mackenzie Spencer, City of Charleston Communications Specialist

The land was deeded to the city of Charleston by Joseph Ruffner in 1831. It was originally used as a cemetery before it was converted to a park in 1920. Today, a few graves remain.

“Shortly after the park was unveiled, they installed the Confederate monument. A few graves were moved if they were from affluent families,” Calvin Grimm said.

Grimm and his colleague, Herbert Gardner, spent hundreds of hours researching the history of slavery in the Kanawha Valley as well as the site of the monument for their film “River of Hope.”

On Monday, the plaques of the monument were quietly removed, but it did not take long for people to notice when a post began to circulate on social media. The reactions were mixed.

“A piece of local history was suddenly removed with apparently no public comment or our feelings on it,” said Ernest Blevins, with the Robert S. Garnett Camps of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“There was no public comment, no reaching out to groups that may have an interest to the monuments,” he added.

Others were much happier that the monument was removed.

“These are markers to white supremacists that have stood for virtually the entire lifetime of everyone living today. And it is one fine day here in Charleston that this has come down,” Charleston resident Howard Swint said.

“It’s about time it was removed. I applaud the mayor’s actions. In the future, I’d love to see something here to honor those that were buried here,” Gardner added.

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