KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — At a time Confederate symbols are being purged from public sites, a northeast Missouri museum is putting a restored Confederacy flag on permanent inside display, calling it “a teachable moment.”
The museum in the 3,300-resident Mississippi River town of Louisiana plans to unveil the donated, framed 34-inch-by-58-inch flag Saturday to coincide with the museum’s 25th anniversary celebration. A 33-star Union flag also will be put on view nearby.
The fate of Confederate symbols have been a source of increasing contention in recent years, with communities wrestling with whether to remove those items seen by some as vestiges of racism and others as icons of heritage.
In Louisiana, where many Southerners settled after the Civil War, administrators of the nonprofit museum say they’re not picking a fight and merely trying to educate — and encourage dialogue — by displaying the once-tattered flag brought home by a local soldier who fought in Arkansas.
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“When it comes down to it, who gets to choose what history we will see and hear? We want to make sure all voices are heard,” said Brent Engel, a Louisiana Area Historical Museum board member. “I get the point: These monuments stand to what many see as hatred, tyranny and immorality. And that’s true — slavery was immoral, and there’s no doubt about it. But if you don’t look at history, you won’t understand why these people fought for the Southern cause.
“We’re trying to make this a teachable moment where people have a broader understanding of the Civil War.”
Judy Schmidt, the board’s incoming president, added: “Not all arrowheads were used to kill deer. An arrowhead is just as much an artifact handmade as this flag.”