August 15, 2017 (San Diego) A plaque, honored Confederate President Jefferson Davis, was removed in San Diego overnight. Mayor Kevin Faulconer ordered this removal and had this public statement released:
The statement puts the partial context of that monument in place. It was presented to the city in 1926. It was part of the series of Lost Cause monument building across the country. It was two years before that the statue to General Robert E. Lee, at the center of the controversy in Charlottesville, was revealed.
The Klu Klux Klan (KKK) was big in San Diego at that time. This is important to understand. It was part of the resurgence, the second great revival, of the KKK. These days, their grand sons and daughters are part of the White Aryan Resistance, short for WAR, This group was taken to court and Tom Metzger lost his shirt in court.
Metzger was sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1988. When all was said and done, Metzger ended up moving to Ohio from San Diego’s East County.
So removing this plaque is critical for the city to move on from that history. But that history has to be remembered. Why did we have a plaque to the president of a group of states that rose in rebellion? That is why. We had people who moved to San Diego from the East and found a very unfamiliar environment. It was also a time when the South entered a mythic space, in the midst of social change.
Today’s statement from Council Member Chris Ward is also critical. It puts all this in the current context.
“This morning, San Diego City staff acted quickly and decisively to remove a plaque honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis from Horton Plaza Park in Downtown. While some may see many sides to this issue, monuments to bigotry have no place in San Diego. Thank you to the San Diego citizens who raised this issue and pressed for action, Mayor Kevin Faulconer for quick direction, and to everyone at the city who moved without hesitation to stand clearly on the side of what’s right.
“We are tragically reminded in the wake of deadly domestic terrorism of our responsibility to actively bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice with our work. This is a small but critically important step to ensure San Diego remains a safe and inclusive place, and we will continue to confront the symbols and ideology of white supremacy and Neo-Nazism that threaten the values that make our city and country great.”
This came to the attention of the City via Assembly Woman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, according to reporting from the Los Angeles Times.