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Where You Can Find Confederate Flag Flying in Montana

By    |   Wednesday, 05 August 2015 11:03 PM

As many states remove Confederate flags, statues and monuments from public areas, Montana has also found its way into the controversial debate.

Montana became an organized territory in 1864 — three years after the attack on Fort Sumter that started the Civil War — and didn't earn statehood until 1889. The largely unpopulated area had almost no direct role in the conflict; the Confederate States Army came only as close as New Mexico and eastern Kansas.

Though not a flag, the 44th state received a 1916 gift of a Confederate Memorial Fountain, which sits in a Helena park. The granite sculpture, which contains an inscription that reads "A Longing Tribute to Our Confederate Soldiers," was designed by architect George H. Carsley and presented by the Daughters of the Confederacy.

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Citing Ken Robinson's book, "Montana Territory and the Civil War," The Independent Record reported that the monument is the only such memorial to the Confederacy in the Northwest.

Still, the racial symbolism of the Confederate flag has sparked outrage following the June shooting deaths of nine South Carolina churchgoers in what is being called a hate crime, The Post and Courier reported. Photos surfaced of the suspected shooter with the Confederate flag and other symbols.

That anger has spilled to the Helena City Commission, where two members want to rename the fountain so it doesn't honor an unsavory legacy.

"These are relics of a racist past that can be remembered in history books and museums, but should not be honored and supported by the government," Commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath wrote on her Facebook page.

Andres Haladay, in a letter to the mayor and his fellow commissioners, said: "I am aware of historians in our community who defend the fountain as a monument to those who served. This of course ignores the fountain was built at the time of a larger propaganda campaign in the early 20th century to encourage public nostalgia for the Confederacy. If our goal is to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, the fountain could easily be a Civil War Fountain. That would be a more meaningful memorial than a one-sided celebration of revisionist history."

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The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) is a group founded in 1919; their mission is to educate the public about the "truthful history of the War Between the States," claiming it was over state's rights, rather than slavery.

In 2009, a then-University of Montana student, who grew up in Winchester, Virginia, displayed a Confederate flag on school grounds as a symbol of his heritage, and argued that it was his constitutional right to do so, the Missoulian reported.

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As many states remove Confederate flags, statues and monuments from public areas, Montana has also found its way into the controversial debate.
Confederate flag, Montana
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 11:03 PM
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