Beauvoir, in Biloxi, Miss., is the last home of Jefferson Davis. The museum hopes to acquire Confederate statues that are coming down across the country in the “Take ‘Em Down” movement. (Jennifer Smits/FEMA)
WASHINGTON – Officials at the last Mississippi home of Jefferson Davis have a message for the cities and states that are removing Confederate statues: We’ll take ’em.
Beauvoir (French for “beautiful view”) is a 52-acre waterfront plantation in Biloxi that includes the last residence of Confederacy president Davis, his presidential library, a Civil War museum and a Confederate cemetery. In the wake of last weekend’s deadly white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Va, which was triggered by protests against the impending removal of a statue of Gen. Robert Lee, some city and state officials are speeding up long-discussed plans to ditch the monuments.
Officials at Beauvoir, a National Historic Landmark, said they welcome the statues and would even arrange shipping. Assistant Director Andrea Little said they hope to raise money through fundraising events to finance the delivery costs.
“We believe that the Beauvoir campus is the most appropriate, contextual location for these monuments,” Little said in a Thursday news release. “We ask the cooperation of any and all fair-minded people to help with Beauvoir’s acquisition of these statues. Our vision is to include the monuments as part of our historical narrative at Beauvoir.”
She said Beauvoir’s mission is to educate visitors on the events of the Civil War and celebrate our heritage as Americans.
Many Americans find Confederate monuments offensive and feel they should not be displayed publicly. “By expressing our desire for these monuments, we are in no way defending or condoning slavery, which was and is an evil institution that has no color or creed and has existed since the dawn of time,” Little said.
In the spring, Beauvoir reached out to New Orleans officials, expressing a great interest in acquiring four Confederate statues that have been taken down – mostly at the urging of the group Take ‘Em Down NOLA. But the Crescent City wouldn’t part with the monuments and said it plans to construct a museum or park to display them.
Not everyone in Biloxi wants Beauvoir to acquire the statues, however. The editorial board of the Sun Herald urged Beauvoir on Thursday to drop its plan to take in the homeless statues.
“We do not want any more Confederate statues. … They are nothing but unwanted reminders of one of the United States of America’s darkest hours. They are a reminder of the war fought to preserve slavery in the United States.”
In an emailed response to TMN, Little said: “We disagree. We feel these monuments are historic, iconic, and works of art. It would be just as wrong for us to deny our history than to relive it.”
Reprinted with permission from Talk Media News.
Regina Holmes has more than two decades of experience as a journalist –editing and reporting for news dailies including the Miami Herald, Newsday and the Baltimore Examiner.