ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A citizens committee in western Michigan has proposed removing a park statue of a Union soldier and Confederate soldier standing back to back as a slave child kneels between them.
The Garden of Honor Memorial Committee presented its suggestion Monday to the Allendale Township board which could vote June 14 on the statue’s future.
In addition to removing the current statue, the committee also recommended that a replacement statue featuring three Union soldiers — one white, one Black and one Native American — be erected.
One of the three soldiers would be inspired by the likeness of African American solider Ben Jones, a former slave and Ottawa County resident who served in the Union army, said Tumaini Sango, a committee member.
Donating the current statue to a local museum or historical society has been discussed, Sango added.
Calls for the statue to come down began last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and anti-police brutality protests around the country.
Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died May 25, 2020 as white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck. Chauvin was convicted last month of murder and manslaughter. He is expected to be sentenced June 25.
Allendale Township is west of Grand Rapids.