Ohio township finds a new home for Confederate memorial

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The monthslong saga of an Ohio monument honoring Confederate general Robert E. Lee reached a possible conclusion Thursday night whenofficials identified a new spot for it to stand.

Franklin Township officials said the small plaque, formerly shrouded in ferns near a local highway, will be installed on land owned by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

"It protects the monument, it protects the people that like to visit the monument and it respects the wishes of people who don’t want to see it because it is on private property," trustee Brian Morris said.

The memorial, which was installed decades after the Civil War in a state that never supported the Confederacy, went largely unnoticed for most of its 90-year history — so much so that it quietly passed from the hands of Franklin Township to Franklin proper when boundaries between the two were redrawn in 1990.

White supremacist violence centered around a more conspicuous Lee memorial in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned the spotlight on the bronze-blue plaque for the first time in decades.

The local controversy reflected a national debate over the status of such monuments. Do shrines to people who started a war to leave the United States represent a worthy part of its history, or do they confer undue honor on a nation created to preserve the institution of black slavery?

“We didn’t lose anything here," said Donald Whisman, who supported the monument. "We won. It’s a victory if you ask me.”

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