Recommended monument changes adopted in Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A nationwide wave of changes to public Civil War monuments honoring the Confederacy is officially reaching Savannah.

Talk of renaming the Confederate Monument in Savannah's iconic Forsyth Park started last year, and Wednesday, city council voted to move ahead with the recommended changes to the site.

It was a unanimous decision to adopt eight recommended changes to the monument, all aiming to make the site more inclusive and representative of all of Savannah's rich Civil War history.

The monument task force recommendations were all presented to council several weeks ago, and the go-ahead vote by council adopts the recommendations. Implementation is now up to City Manager Rob Hernandez's office.

The first recommendation is changing the name of the monument from the Confederate Monument to the Civil War Memorial. Historical material on the memorial will be preserved, but a bronze plaque will be added on the south side of the monument saying, "This memorial was originally erected in 1875 to the Confederate dead, redesigned in 1879, and rededicated in 2018 to all the dead of the American Civil War."

Other noticeable changes will be the removal and relocation of the Bartow and McLaws monuments to the Laurel Grove North Cemetery, not putting anything else in that space, and preserving the fence around the memorial.

Before the adoption of the recommendations, Alderman Julian Miller cautioned that the city needs to be sure all the changes are legal before moving forward.

"I have no affinity for the monuments, but I do have an affinity for following the law, so I would ask that the city attorney look into assuring that what we're doing is legal, and if any portion of this is deemed illegal, that we delete it," the District 4 Alderman said.

It will be up to the city manager to work all those details out with the city attorneys office.

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