CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Charleston City Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to reaffirm anti-discrimination policies in the city.
Council members say the resolution declares Black lives matter and proclaims support for community members engaging in peaceful protests against acts of racism, injustice and inequality. All 26 council members approved the resolution July 6, 2020, at the city council meeting.
“The City of Charleston is a place that should be inclusive of all,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Council felt that is was important to stand up as one and say that we support all our citizens and their right to peacefully protest.”
Charleston City Council also voted to loan or donate the Kanawha Rifleman Memorial to a West Virginia history museum where it can be preserved and presented in historical context. The monument, erected in 1922 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, was removed Monday, June 29 from its original location in Ruffner Park.
“Monuments like this should be housed in museums where they can be interpreted more readily in their historic context,” said Goodwin. “Removing this monument is a step forward in making our Capital City a welcoming and inclusive place for all.”
City officials say the monument has been offered to the Craik-Patton House Museum. A namesake of the house, George Smith Patton, formed the Kanawha Riflemen. They also say they recognize the history of the Civil War should not be erased and a museum setting where history can be explained in context is a far better place for the monument.
The resolution also requested the Charleston Historic Landmarks Commission prepare a proposal for a new monument to present the history of Ruffner Park, according to the council.
“This park has seen so much over the years and I look forward to working with the City of Charleston to help bring the history of Ruffner Park to life,” said Billy Joe Peyton, Professor of History at West Virginia State University and Chair of the Charleston Historic Landmarks Commission. “History is not always pretty but moving the Kanawha Riflemen Memorial monument to a museum setting will allow it to be studied with the proper context and provide a new canvass for the story of Ruffner Park to be told in a historically accurate manner.”