“This thinly-veiled tribute to the Confederacy exists in the center of Albuquerque’s most important historic area. Historical acknowledgement of the Confederacy’s brief military presence in New Mexico is appropriate only in the context of the larger breadth of our city’s history. Symbols that honor the military of the secessionist slave states have no place in New Mexico. As a representative of a community that prides itself on tolerance, I call for the two plaques on the gazebo to be removed immediately, and that the wording on the plaque with the cannons be changed to remove pro-confederate language.” – City Councilor Isaac Benton
Old Town Plaza contains two plaques honoring Confederate soldiers that are attached to the Viejo Gazebo in the middle of Old Town; two commemorative cannons used by the Confederate Army, with another plaque listing financial supporters of the effort to create these replica cannons; and the original Confederate States of America flag – with seven stars signifying the first seven states to secede from the Union – hanging next to those of the United States, New Mexico, Spain and Mexico.
The Confederate flag flies alongside four others, each symbolizing different governments which have led Albuquerque since our founding. But unlike the other flags – from Spain, the United States, Mexico and New Mexico – Confederate soldiers only occupied and controlled Albuquerque for a brief six week period following a nearby skirmish in the Civil War. Their six week occupation did nothing to contribute to our heritage or culture like the other people and cultures who found common purpose along the Rio Grande.
Elder Michael Jefferson of Procession Ministry says, “I have worked with Mayor Berry’s administration on issues facing our community in the past. He has been receptive to hearing my concerns, and I am looking forward to engaging constructively on this issue. However, at this time, we need a call to action. I refer to the words of President Obama “We talk a lot about race. There’s no shortcut. And we don’t need more talk.” There is no greater time than the present moment for the dreams of Dr. King to become our reality and the falsehoods of confederate memorials to become non-existent in the fiber of life in America. The action we need to take now needs no debate. To have a shrine to the Confederacy in our city simply cannot stand.”
Mayor Berry has announced plans to meet with community leaders to consider his options. Help us tell Mayor Berry that the time for Albuquerque’s Confederate shrines has passed.