Confederate Mothers Monument
Backstory and Context
Confederate Mothers' Monument
The Confederate Mothers' Monument which is also known as the Texarkana Confederate Memorial, Confederate Memorial or Confederate Monument was dedicated on April 21, 1918. It was commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and it was designed by Henry Allen and constructed by Allen Monuments This monument is situated on 500 State Line Avenue in Texarkana, Texas and it is very close to the Arkansas and Texas border. The Confederate memorial sits along State Line Avenue and is situated close to the south of the Courthouse and the Federal Post Office. It is a marble statue that includes a man and a woman. The statue on top of this monument depicts a Confederate soldier and the statue on the bottom depicts a Confederate soldier's mother. The inscription on the top reads “To our loyal confederates.” (Lynn). And the inscription on the bottom for this monuments states “O great confederate mothers, we would paint your names on monuments, that men may read them as the years go by and tribute pay to you, who bore and nurtured hero sons and gave them solace on that darkest day, when they came home, with broken swords and guns''(Lynn).
A Confederate veteran named J.T. Rosborough Jr who fought at Bull Run, Gettysburg, and at the Battle of Antietam had donated $10,000 to pay tribute to the Confederate mothers and the UDC used the money for its construction. The documentation for this monument was signed in January of 1914 by Roseborough that states “in commemoration of the Soldiers of the Southern Confederacy"(Lynn). He included a woman in this monument because Confederate men saw women as the mothers of Confederate men and helpmates, as though women were only able to achieve “ heroism through the birth and support for males.”(Stott 129).
In order to understand why this monument was built, It is essential to look at what the purpose of the United Daughters of Confederacy was and why such monuments were built especially in Texas. The United Daughters of the Confederacy was formed in Nashville1894 and “ eventually attracted members from all fifty states”(Stott 2). These women were southern white socialites who organized in decades after the civil war in order to make sure that the history of the war would be told from white southerners' point of view. The UDC's main purpose was to “achieve vindication”(Cox 2). for Confederate ancestors because the UDC believed that they defended a just cause which was white supremacy. It was to cast the Confederates in the best possible light. This propaganda was known as the Lost Cause. One of the ways the Lost Cause was commemorated was through the building of monuments throughout the country.
In Texas, the division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy came in 1896 and had many purposes. The first was honoring the Confederate soldiers, others included collecting materials for a record of civil war history, helping descendants of Confederates to get education through scholarships, building schools, and putting up monuments/historic marks. This division had started to construct these Confederate monuments throughout Texas especially during 1906 and 1910 to show that these statues will honor the Confederates. They put these monuments many decades following the civil war because they wanted to make sure that future generations will see the Confederacy in a positive way. However, in reality, they wanted to make sure that the history that will be remembered will be in favor of the white Confederacy and not as pro-slavery.
While these monuments were certainly quite important to the United Daughters of the Confederacy to display history in the favor of the Confederacy, It was also essential for them to cherish Confederate women for their hard work and heroism through textbooks or other educational means. They wrote textbooks with "their" version of the Civil War and required southern states to use them in both white and Black schools (Mammina).
The United Daughters of the Confederacy did not oppose the idea that Confederate women should be honored through monuments. They did not want women to be honored only for the purpose of motherhood, but instead for the great effort they had put in for the Civil War. However, they got a monument named Confederate Mothers’ Monument by a male Confederate veteran in Texarkana. This monument only honors mothers for raising their great Confederate soldier sons and reduces the recognition of female work in the war. “It was exactly this type of commemoration that Texas women wanted to avoid.” (Stott 129). These UDC women wanted “Texas, to use any funds made available for commemoration purposes to build a school as a more enduring and useful monument than marble or brass.”(Stott 130).
Even though one of the main purposes of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was to build monuments, the “Daughters immediately protested.”( Stott 131). Theirs was not a protest against the “chivalrous compliment of the Confederate veterans, . . . but of the unmeaning, unrepresentative design adopted by them.” (Stott 132).This is ironic because they wanted equality to Confederate men but did not believe in equality for the African Americans slaves which is why they supported the Civil War.
Today, the Confederate Mothers' Monument in Texas is favored by many Confederates descendants (even though it should not be) and they want to keep such statutes. Their argument is that the Confederate veteran that erected this monument did it for the purpose of honoring Confederate soldiers. Although the Texas division of the United Daughters of Confederacy opposed this monument, thousands of petitions are being signed by women in Texarkana and Arkansas today to keep this monument in its place. They are claiming that these monuments are not representing slavery. Instead, supporters claim the monument is actually there to represent and honor mothers who had to bury their Confederate sons. These women and their sons were not honorable because the only so-called tragedy they faced was the loss of slavery.
On the other hand, because of recent deaths like those of George Floyd, many people are reconsidering these monuments. Many want them to be removed or to be placed in a museum for educational purposes only where they can be studied under historical context only. People who oppose the monuments think that the monuments serve as a reminder of slavery of African Americans and racial injustice rather than for honoring Confederate soldiers. It also creates discomfort for African Americans because it reminds them of the torture that their African American ancestors and their families had to go through because of slavery and the Civil War.
Some protests have also happened in support of the monument's removal. However, it can not be easily removed because the authorities are very confused by the documents that have been found relating to this monument as to who has the authority to remove it or not remove it. And since the Texas division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has disbanded, there is no option to speak to them about it either which creates further complications. Their headquarters does not respond to any calls or emails regarding this monument.
From all the information that has come forward regarding the Confederate Mothers Monument, it seems like it will take a lot of time to decide its fate not only because of its original documents but also because of the vast gulf between people who want to keep and those who do not want to keep. This monument also raises further questions like: are monuments part of free speech or are they protected by the government Regardless of all these issues, only time will tell what the future of the Confederate Mothers' Monument is.
Esther F. Sims, “United Daughters of the Confederacy,” Handbook of Texas Online,
LaRowe, Lynn. “Monumental Dilemma: Local Officials Investigate Who Can Decide
Confederate Memorial's Fate. texarkanagazette.com, June 14, 2020
Stott, Kelly. “FROM LOST CAUSE TO FEMALE EMPOWERMENT: THE TEXAS
DIVISION OF THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY.1896-1996"
August 2001: 129-132.
Good, Angela. “Protect Our Confederate Mothers Monument.” Change.org.
Martinez, J. Michael, William D. Richardson, and Ron McNinch-Su. Confederate
Symbols in the Contemporary South. Gainesville: University Press of Florida,
Hunt, Ellen.What is a Confederate Monument?: An Examination of Confederate
Monuments in the Context of the Compelled Speech and Government Speech
Doctrines, 37(2) Law & Ineg.(2019).
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Monument." Four States News, June 23,2020.
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Confederacy and the transmission of Confederate culture, 1894-1919”
The University of Southern Mississippi ,1997