Emotions have been high for some regarding the Caddo Confederate monument.
But in the early 1900’s, the front of the original Caddo Parish Courthouse was empty.
It was almost 40 years since the end of the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict on U.S. soil.
“People were getting over the war and getting over the consequences of the war… black and white,” said Dr. Gary Joiner, LSUS professor and historian. “If you read stories in books or listen to lectures from northern historians, they’re gonna to say ‘the Civil War ended and then it was the guided age!’ Not in the south.”
Dr. Joiner has spent much of his career studying the Civil War.
He says the local monument is part of movement that swept much of the country to preserve the memory of Confederates who died in battle.
“You have to remember that the context of this is that this is 35 years after the war,” he explained. “Many of these veterans are still alive.”
In 1896, about 25 to 30 local women joined that movement by forming Shreveport Chapter #237 United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Through public and private donation they were able to hire famous sculptor, German immigrant Frank Teich.
The monument, made of granite and marble, includes the busts of four famous Confederate generals.
It cost $10,000, which is about $275,000 in today’s money. And, although the monument includes the four generals, it’s more about the soldier atop the 30 foot statue, according to the the Shreveport Chapter #237 United Daughters of the Confederacy National Registration of Historic Places application.
“Think of it as an abstract pyramid and he’s at the top,” said Dr. Joiner. “So, he’s the one that’s being honored. The generals below him are there because they’re recognizable. But, the monument does not honor them.”
Greek muse Clio is also featured writing in the book of history to highlight the important role women played at a time when they had fewer rights.
“The ladies didn’t have the right to vote,” Dr. Joiner said. “They didn’t have the right to own land unless there was a co-signer that was a father or a brother or husband.”
Archival photos show a crowd at the 1906 unveiling, which was celebrated by some during an era marked with inequality and violence nationwide.
“It was horrible,” said Rev. Dr. Asriel McLain, a North Louisiana Civil Rights Coalition board member. “We were at the period known as the Native Period, which was the lowest point in Black America after post reconstruction on to where we were lynched.”
“During that period, in southern states… there was terror [mostly ignored by the state,” explained Ret. Attorney John Ratcliff, also on the Civil Rights Coalition board.
All parts of our local past helping paint the entire picture of that time.
In Part II of this special report, which airs Wednesday night, hear more from the local Civil Rights Coalition about Caddo’s Black history in the early 1900’s.
Jackie Nichols, President of Shreveport #237 United Daughters of the Confederacy provided the attached statement regarding the history of the Caddo Parish Confederate Monument. <CLICK HERE: A History of the Caddo Parish Confederate Monument by Jackie Nichols, Oct. 25, 2017>
For more on the lawsuit filed by the Daughters of the Confederacy, click here.
And, for more on the Caddo Commission’s vote to remove the monument, click here.