A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Fox2 News . Not for anything having to do with cardiology but because I randomly stumbled upon the City of St. Louis taking down a street sign.
This was no ordinary street sign.
It was associated with the small strip of road that runs adjacent to the Confederate Memorial that sits in Forest Park (America’s #1 Urban Park!)
The Forest Park Confederate Memorial became part of a national discussion after long-time St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay, writing in his blog in 2015, proposed a a committee for reappraisal of the statue:
Their charge would be to recommend whether, with the benefit of a longer view of history, the monument is appropriately situated in Forest Park – the place where the World was asked to meet and experience St. Louis at its best and most sublime — or whether it should be relocated to a more appropriate setting.
They also should address whether the monument represents a peculiar memorial to what euphemistically was referred to in the American South as a “peculiar institution” – slavery-and wherever ultimately situated, whether the monument should be accompanied by a description of the reality and brutality of slavery, over which the war was waged, including in this city, and the bitter badges of slavery, Jim Crow and de facto discrimination and segregation, that are its continuing legacy.
I would ask the commission, also, to reappraise the name “Confederate Drive,” the Forest Park thoroughfare on which the monument is situated. They might consider whether “Freedom” or “Justice” would be more fitting.
It looks like the committee delivered their report in December , 2015 and it can be found here. They indicate their charge was to assess how best to get rid of the statue, not really to “reappraise” it.
They asked for proposals from various museums/historic organizations for moving the statue and received no satisfactory proposals. . The cost of moving the statue to another site was estimated at 268,000$ and moving it to storage at 122,000$.
A new mayor of St. Louis, Lydia Krewson, was elected last November and she has vowed to move the statue.
Apparently, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to remove the street sign than the statue.
Don’t expect any brilliant insights into this controversy from my interview with Fox2 News. Before I’m ready to make any public pronouncement on an issue I require hours and hours of research and clearly I have no expertise or background that would qualify me to pontificate on the fate of this statue.
Since then, I’ve thought about it and read more and hope to share some observations down the line.
Since the interview aired it seems to have gone viral around St. Luke’s hospital with many marveling at my odd “beekeeper’s” hat and others impressed by my handling of a random cyclist’s yelled comments.
This is the link to the Fox 2 News Interview