Local activist demands Confederate monument removed

Updated: Jun. 12, 2020 at 6:23 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Ivers Square, located in the back of the Common Pleas Courthouse, is the current resting place for a controversial Confederate monument.

Community activist Sofia Voss said it needs to be removed.

“The interesting thing about it is that it was placed at the foot of the old bridge. As a sign for people who were entering the town. It was like sort of an intimidation tactic that black people were not welcome here.”

Established in 1931 by the Daughters of the Confederacy, community historian Denise Lincoln said she understands why some might find the statue offensive.

“I think if I were African American or bringing my family through this area, and the first thing I saw was a CSA. A monument to the confederacy, this might be a town you just keep driving through,” she said.

In the 1990s, the monument was moved to its current location.

Voss said that with others across the country being defaced and taken down, she has started a petition to remove this one.

“So, with all these petitions going around and racial commentary in every news broadcast we have, if there is going to be a time to remove this monument in Cape Girardeau it would be now,” she said.

Voss has currently collected more than 800 signatures on her removal petition.

“So my plan as of right now, when I get 1000 signatures, is to try to take it to city council,” she said.

Mayor Bob Fox said he’ll have the discussion, but that could lead to other problems.

“I think, on the other way around, you could have people say lets have a petition to get rid of the James Ivers statue,” he said. “It works both ways.”

Which is why he said it all starts with education.

“In my mind, it’s a matter of history,” he said. “And I know there is a horrible history there, but we need to know that. Because, unless you know that history, you can’t change it.”

“Ivers Square, rather than just Courthouse Square, is more than a judiciary, it is a family. That expresses who we were and who we want to be. It is a place to remember history, it’s a place to make history.”

In full disclosure, we would like you to know that Sofia Voss has a family member employed at KFVS.

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