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Michigan town to keep statue of Black child, South soldier

Associated Press

Allendale Township, Mich. – Leaders in a western Michigan community have voted to keep a statue of Confederate and Union Civil War soldiers with a Black child kneeling between them.

The Allendale Township board voted 5-2 Monday, despite a recommendation from a group that the statue be replaced by one with Union soldiers who are Black, Native American and White.

Some Allendale residents want the township to remove this Civil War statue from the township park. They say the statue is racist because it shows a confederate soldier and young slave.

“It’s been made very clear to me that the majority of our residents wish for the Civil War statue to remain in the garden of honor,” said Jody Hansen, township clerk and board member.

Other residents say it isn't racist because it shows the confederate soldier lost the war and the young slave is celebrating his freedom.

Dozens of people attended the meeting, which was held outdoors at a park bandshell, 15 miles west of Grand Rapids.

“What better lesson can we teach our children than by being able to say, ‘We had this thing. We thought it was OK. We have since learned that we were wrong,’” said area resident Cathy Seaver, who wants the statue removed.

Trustee Barb VanderVeen, who opposed keeping the statue, asked if the child, which represents a slave, could at least be removed. Trustee Candy Kraker said the artist indicated that removing it would damage the structural integrity.