KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Workers with a private contracting company removed the United Daughters of the Confederacy monument at 55th and Ward Parkway early Friday morning after vandalism prompted the group to request its relocation. A private, anonymous donor paid for the removal.
A crane crew arrived shortly after sunrise to break up the 21,000-pound stone monument in smaller pieces and load them onto a truck. The crew will take the pieces to storage until the local UDC chapter decides what it wants to do with them.
No protests or large groups gathered to mark the statue's removal, but several passersby stopped to take photos and share their conflicted views on the removal.
"They're set up to express dominance of a certain class. They're offensive to a certain type of people and it's time for them to go," said David Boheme, who supports the removal.
"It's something that now people cannot learn from. It would be like going to the library and taking books out," said David Meinke.
Vandals spray painted what appeared to be a hammer and sickle on the monument earlier in August after media attention and public outcry led city council to discuss the issue. The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department boarded up the monument in response.
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The memorial was erected in 1934 to honor the Confederate women left behind during the Civil War. It was initially located at the entrance to the Country Club Plaza but was moved in 1958.
This call for removal comes in the wake of violent clashes in Charlottesville over a Confederate statue. A Prairie Village man wrote a letter to the city several weeks ago bringing the issue to the attention of city leaders.
In a letter to the parks and recreation board, a Prairie Village man called for removal of the monument, citing Mayor Sly James' recent response to the NAACP travel advisory for Missouri.
"Removal of the UDC Memorial would be a concrete step for Kansas City to officially back up these comments in support of diversity and equality in our community," he wrote in the letter.
McHenry said the letter marks the first formal complaint about the Confederate statue on record.
"It's something that's coming to us for the first time," said Kansas City's Parks & Recreation Director Mark McHenry.
Down the road, many want the name of the iconic horse fountain changed. It's currently named after J.C. Nichols, the man credited with creating the Plaza, but critics say his controversial history involving race and housing should not be associated with the fountain.
[Editor's note: The city corrected itself regarding the weight of the monument, upping the weight to 21,000 pounds from the originally-reported 8,000 pounds.]