Missouri Civil War historian Louis Gerteis weighs in on Confederate Monument

UMSL's Louis Gerteis

(Photo by August Jennewein)

Should it stay or should it go?

That question has been on many minds regarding the Confederate flag following the June 17 shooting of nine African Americans at a Charleston, S.C., church. The suspect has ties to white supremacist groups, which sometimes use the flag to symbolize pro-segregation sentiment.

In St. Louis, that question has been raised about the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park. Louis Gerteis, chair of the Department of History at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and an expert on the Civil War in Missouri, discussed the topic Monday on St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” program.

He was asked if he felt there was a distinction between the Confederate flag and memorial.

“I do think there’s a big difference, particularly for the memorial in St. Louis – in Forest Park ­– because it was vetted before it was put up,” Gerteis explained on St. Louis Public Radio. “It was put up without any belligerent symbolism, there’s no soldier, there’s no weaponry. There’s a depiction (on the monument) of a quote from Robert E. Lee about how all men who had fought for the confederacy had been noble and brave, and patriotic. [And also], a family saying goodbye to a man who’s presumably heading south to join the Confederate army.”

Visit the St. Louis Public Radio website to listen to the full interview with Gerteis and Eddie Roth, director of human services for the City of St. Louis.

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