Story at a glance
- A petition seeks to remove the monument unveiled in 2007 honoring the nearly 2,000 Delaware residents who fought for the Confederacy.
- As of July 7, the petition had 4,250 signatures, less than a thousand away from its goal of 5,000 signatures.
- “Vice President Biden has spoken out regarding how Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag itself represent systemic racism and some of the most agonizing chapters of American history,” said a spokesperson.
The Confederate monument and flag on the grounds of the Nutter Marvel Carriage Museum in Georgetown, Del., would probably never have gotten much attention if a resident of the same state wasn't the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
Delaware wasn’t even in the Confederacy during the Civil War, although it was a slave state that enforced Jim Crow laws for more than half a century after slavery was abolished. But in the wake of George Floyd’s death and protests against systemic racism in the United States, the state has dealt with other racist statues, including one of Christopher Columbus and another of a slave owner and former state governor Caesar Rodney.
Now, a petition seeks to remove the monument unveiled in 2007 honoring the nearly 2,000 Delaware residents who fought for the Confederacy.
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"Although we cannot forget that nearly 2,000 Delawareans fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, this monument ultimately glorifies a group of soldiers who committed treason against the United States and fought to continue American slavery. This monument is unacceptable and stands against our values as a state," said Andrew Honeycutt on the Change.org page for the petition started in June.
At the time of this article's publication, the petition had 4,250 signatures, less than a thousand away from its goal of 5,000 signatures. Until the monument is removed, the petition asks the Delaware General Assembly to withhold grant-in-aid funding from Georgetown Historical Society, which owns the property on which the monument and the Nutter Marvel Carriage Museum are located.
Honeycutt also asks the state assembly to formally condemn the historical society, museum and Delaware Grays Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 2068, who maintain the monument, as well as for Sussex County Return Day, Inc., to not include the Georgetown Historical Society in planning the annual Return Day Celebration. The society has been targeted once before over the monument and flag by state Sen. Trey Paradee, resulting in a loss of state funding.
Georgetown Historical Society President Jim Bowden told Delaware State News that the museum is not in line for grant-in-aid and is a separate entity from the Sussex County Return Day.
“Well, it’s a non-starter,” Bowden told Delaware State News about the petition’s demands. “It is incorrect because either the town or historical society, neither one owns the monument. By agreement, it is sitting on historical society property, but we have no ownership or no maintenance. We do nothing for it.”
As for Joe Biden, who lives about 100 miles away in Wilmington, Del., a spokesperson for his campaign told the Daily Beast the flag and monument represent “some of the most agonizing chapters of American history."
“Vice President Biden has spoken out regarding how Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag itself represent systemic racism and some of the most agonizing chapters of American history,” said Andrew Bates, the Biden campaign’s director of rapid response. “While this is not on public land, he encourages the owners to remove the statue. He commends State Sen. Paradee on his efforts to withdraw state funding from the site as long as the monument stands.”
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