Group puts up billboard calling for removal of Seattle Confederate monument

Oct 30, 2018, 5:44 AM | Updated: 6:21 pm

A group that advocates for the removal Confederate monuments in cities across the country is turning its attention to Seattle.

The Make It Right Project recently put up a billboard in Capitol Hill, reminding Seattleites of the presence of a Confederate memorial right in its backyard. That memorial can be found in Lakeview Cemetery, also the home of Bruce Lee’s grave site, and has stood since 1926.

Make It Right was launched in June 2018, and has since made it its personal mission to get Confederate monuments removed nationwide.

The organization targets 10 cities across the country with monuments they deem problematic. Seattle holds the dubious distinction of being the only West Coast city included on that list.

In the past in other places and other sites, we’ve put up billboards depending on what the tone of the political landscape is or what the cultural landscape is,” Make It Right’s director Kali Holloway told The Ron and Don Show on KIRO Radio. “Here, it seemed like a public information campaign was the most important thing we needed to undertake.”

Seattle’s monument was erected by the United Daughters of Confederacy (UDC), whose own former president, Heidi Christensen, has advocated for its relocation to a more “appropriate” home in the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Portland.

The UDC built and sponsored 1,700 such markers in the United States in the early 1900s.

Lakeview Cemetery's Confederate monument. (Wikimedia Commons)

In the past, Lakeview Cemetery’s controversial marker required protection from vandalism, following the removal of a similar monument in North Carolina in 2017.

Holloway cites a few issues with the monument’s current location.

“It is notable that Seattle’s tribute to the Confederacy was carved from a 10-ton piece of Stone Mountain—the site where the Ku Klux Klan held its rebirth ceremony in 1915—that was shipped across the country from Georgia to Washington,” she said in a news release. “The UDC sought to ensure that white racist terror was, both figuratively and literally, an elemental part of this monument.”

While it’s surrounded by a handful of Confederate graves, there aren’t any actual bodies buried beneath the monument.

“It is not a headstone, but instead a sculptural assertion of white supremacy and power,” she argued.

So, why won’t Lakeview Cemetery remove the monument in the face of public pressure? That actually lies in hands of the UDC.

“What (Lakeview Cemetery) officially said is that the UDC pays for maintenance of the monument, and that the only way for a removal to happen is for them [the UDC] to take it down,” said Holloway.

Holloway remains optimistic.

“If you kick up enough dust, there’s a chance that it can be removed,” she said.

The UDC has yet to comment on the monument’s presence or the billboard.

RELATED: Confederate memorial may be on its way out of Seattle

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Group puts up billboard calling for removal of Seattle Confederate monument