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BENTONVILLE -- A Confederate monument and statue will be removed from the downtown square, officials announced Monday.

The Arkansas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy has agreed to move the statue after discussion with community leaders about the future of statue on the square, according to a release from the group.

The monument is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and it has stood on the square since 1908 in an agreement with Benton County.

The city maintains the beautification and maintenance of the property.

The statue depicts a bearded soldier, according to the 1996 National Register of Historical Places registration form for the monument.

The Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to work with the Benton County Historical Society an and other community members and decided to move the monument to a permanent private park named "James H. Berry Park," near Bentonville Cemetery, where Gov. Berry is buried, pursuant to the agreement between the two groups, the release said..

The agreement will allow the Confederacy group to continue to display and preserve the historical significance of the monument and its connection to the history of Benton County in perpetuity, according to the release.

The removal will begin in August after the United Daughters of the Confederacy submits an application under the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to maintain the monument on the National Registry of Historic Places, according to the release.. The Historical Society will own and operate the park and display the monument and the Confederacy group will continue to own the monument, according to the release.

Sheree Miller is a member of Shame of Bentonville. The group has been protesting for more than a year for the removal of the monument. She was excited to learn about the plans.

"This is wonderful news," she said. "It means to me when my grandchildren and relatives come to Bentonville that I can take them to the Square without being ashamed."

The monument has been the target of vandals and was defaced on Sept. 22. Two people on Feb. 14 pleaded innocent to felony criminal mischief.

"We appreciate the spirit of this decision of the [United Daughters of the Confederacy], and we are prepared to play an important role in preserving the monument in an appropriate way to commemorate Governor Berry as well as our State and county history," said Leah Whitehead, chairwoman of the historical society.

State Desk on 06/03/2020

Print Headline: Agreement will remove Confederate statue

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