Michigan town to keep statue of Black child, South soldier

ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — 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.

“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.

Dozens of people attended the meeting, which was held outdoors at a park bandshell, 15 miles (24 kilometers) 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.