Chattanooga seeks removal as trustee of Confederate Cemetery

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Last week, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke moved to disassociate the city and his administration from the city’s Confederate Cemetery.

In the wake of the violent Charlottesville, Virginia rally, Berke admitted that the city’s connection to the cemetery is unclear.

A City council member requested more information on that at last night’s meeting.

Who actually owns..or controls Chattanooga’s Confederate Cemetery on East 3rd street? No body seems to know.

The city has traditionally granted permission for the Sons of Confederate Veterans to maintain the historic cemetery, but a trust formed in the early 1940’s has expired and may not even exist anymore.

City Council Member, Chip Henderson said, “I did bring it up Tuesday night under other business. And it’s a conversation that the city attorney and I had had on Monday that I told him that I’d like for this issue to be brought to the city council.”

Mayor Berke is on record for saying “While we honor our dead, we do not honor the principle for which they fought.”

In a statement released last Friday, Berke said, in-part…”Confederates fought against America to preserve slavery. That’s the truth and we should no longer subsidize any myths to the contrary.”

The mayor did not indicate how much, if any funding has been earmarked for the cemetery over the years.

But Henderson wants City Attorney Wade Hinton to explain Chattanooga’s official position.

“That is something that the mayor could instruct the city attorney to do. But I, I would like to see it brought to the city council so that we know that it’s handled in the proper way , in a way that uh, the people would feel like they have a voice in it as well.” said Chip Henderson.

Henderson says it’s possible the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a fraternal group, might be allowed to serve as trustee. But he warns of being hasty as cities and groups around the country respond to political pressure. “We need to be careful when we start judging others and start removing history. It reminds you a little bit about Germany when they had the book burnings and things like that so, we just need to be careful, we need to approach it you know, one piece at a time.”

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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