INDIANAPOLIS – A monument dedicated to more than 1,600 Confederate soldiers who died while prisoners of war at Camp Morton in Indianapolis will be removed from its current location in Garfield Park. Mayor Joe Hogsett made the announcement this morning.
The grave monument was relocated a century ago from its original location at Greenlawn Cemetery and will be dismantled by contractors in the coming days. The remains of those 1,600 soldiers are buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.
“Our streets are filled with voices of anger and anguish, testament to centuries of racism directed at Black Americans,” said Mayor Hogsett. “We must name these instances of discrimination and never forget our past – but we should not honor them. Whatever original purpose this grave marker might once have had, for far too long it has served as nothing more than a painful reminder of our state’s horrific embrace of the Ku Klux Klan a century ago. For some time, we have urged that this grave monument belongs in a museum, not in a park, but no organization has stepped forward to assume that responsibility. Time is up, and this grave marker will come down.”
The monument was commissioned in 1912 in Greenlawn Cemetery. It was moved to Garfield Park in 1928 following efforts by public officials, active in the KKK, who sought to “make the monument more visible to the public.”
In 2017, the Indianapolis Parks Board passed a resolution to remove the monument once funding was secured. However, that resolution was non-binding.
The city is identifying a source of funding as they expect the cost of the project to range from approximately $50,000 – $100,000.
The monument could be down as early as next week, according to the mayor’s office.
In 2017, a man was captured on video vandalizing the monument. He took a plea deal and was sentenced to serve his time on probation. He was also ordered to stay away from the monument.