Descendant of Lafayette McLaws offers to buy bust from City of Savannah

McLaws Monument in Savannah's Historic Forsyth Park.
McLaws Monument in Savannah's Historic Forsyth Park.(WTOC)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2020 at 12:30 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A descendant of Lafayette McLaws has sent a letter to the City of Savannah offering to buy the bust located in Forsyth Park.

Last week, a white hood was placed on top of the bust, and a black fist spray-painted on the text of the monument.

Lafayette McLaws was a major general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and died in Savannah on July 24, 1897, according to the monument.

In the letter to Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, Gertrude McLaws Helms stated she has offered to purchase the bust of her great, great grandfather before from a previous administration, but did not receive a reply. After the recent vandalism, she wrote that she believes it “is time to renew my offer.”

Helms stated she felt the city had three options, relocating the busts and monuments to Laurel Grove cemetery, have a stonemason remove the text, or selling the bust to her. The later she stated would make the city look proactive and also help her and her family feel relieved that her great, great grandfather would no longer be a source for discord.

The letter was sent to Mayor Johnson on June 15.

In Georgia, lawmakers passed a law in 2019 to protect all state statues and monuments. It makes it illegal to deface, abuse, or remove monuments on state-owned property. This law includes the protection of Confederate monuments as well.

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