ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A controversial Civil War statue in Allendale Township will remain standing after a special board meeting Tuesday.
The board voted to keep the Civil War statue in the township’s Garden of Honor.
The statue in question features two soldiers, one from the Union and one from the Confederacy with a slave child at their feet holidng a sign that reads “freedom to slaves.”
In the meantime, the township will also be creating an advisory committee to be made up of diverse members of Allendale to oversee any future changes to the Garden of Honor where the soldier statues are displayed.
This all comes after another contentious meeting that saw dozens of people step up and address the board.
Acrimony over the statue has been displayed over the past few weeks, with a series of protests and counter protests, sometimes simultaneous.
Tuesdays’s meeting was very similar to the township’s last board meeting, but differed in ways, as the number of people asking for the statue’s removal outnumbered those who spoke in support of keeping it.
“We’re here to say to you that it’s not a matter of if , but when its coming down, but if you want to be repeating these meetings over and over again and you want to have more and more protests with larger and larger crowds of people right here in your little town then vote to keep it up because that’s what’s going to happen,” said Mitch Kahle the co-founder of MACRA, the group who first asked for the statues removal.
“As people who live here peacefully we don’t appreciate this, coming here, and I do not appreciate the threats of its coming down, that is a threat and I don’t appreciate it,” Peggy Knight said.
“I know the artist and the statue was done with all good intentions and she is shocked that this is going on and she had intentions only to represent every war that we been in, to me the little boy sitting down there represents hope,” Knight added.
“The biggest argument we keep hearing in defense of this statue is that we don’t want to rewrite or erase are history and I agree, but unfortunately that is not the case with this statue because it isn’t historical it was built only 22 years ago,” Allendale resident Damian Martinez, said.
“It shows a slave being weak and at the feet of white soldiers, while history shows in reality that slaves played a crucial part in freeing themselves,” Martinez added.
The board voted unanimously to keep the statue and establish the new committee.
The shaping of the new advisory committee will be discussed further at the township’s next board meeting on July 13th.