Indianapolis is removing a grave monument memorializing Confederate prisoners of war. On Monday morning, a construction crew began work to dismantle the monument.
Amid protests last week, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said it was time for the monument to be removed.
“Our streets are filled with voices of anger and anguish, testament to centuries of racism directed at Black Americans,” he said in a statement last week. “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."
The monument has stood in Garfield Park since 1928, after it was moved from Greenlawn Cemetery. Public figures affiliated with KKK lobbied for the move because they wanted it to be more visible. In 2017, the Indianapolis Parks Board passed a resolution to remove the monument once funding was secured.
Antoinette Hood watched as the workers dismantled the monument. She's lived in the Garfield Park neighborhood for 67-years.
"It doesn’t reflect what this community is all about now," Hood says. "Maybe back in 1927, but not currently, because it’s a very diverse community that this park services, and we love it."
Hood says she hopes the monument will be replaced with a statue of former President James A. Garfield, or a philanthropist that supports the park.
The city estimates the cost of moving the monument will be between $50,000 and $100,000.