Rapides Parish Confederate Monument
The "Pride of Alexandria," this Confederate momument located in front of the Rapides Parish Courthouse was dedicated and funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Backstory and Context
March 21, 1914, the Alexandria
Daily Town Talk reported on the unveiling of a new monument, a Confederate
soldier, resulting from the proposal four years earlier by the Thomas Overton Moore Chapter of the United Daughters of Confederacy (UDC).
The UDC collected money from Rapides Parish's white residents to contribute to the Confederate
The local UDC chapter was responsible for erecting the statue that coincided with a wave of monument building in the South, or former Confederate states. As several historians explain, the UDC promoted a Lost Cause ideology as explanation for southern defeat during the Civil War between 1861 and 1865. A generation removed from the conflict, beginning in the 1890s, women formed up into many organizations to promote a pro-South explanation for the South's rebellion, and subsequent military defeat. The UDC worked with other memorialization organizations to place statues in towns across the South, and with clergymen to promote a southern interpretation of what was then recent history in Sunday schools and eventually in the South's all-white public schools.
The Rapides Parish monument to the Confederacy, and the UDC's memorialization of Confederate soldiers as heroes also occurred at the same time that a wave of racial violence gripped the South. Louisiana was especially violent in the 1880s to the early 1920s, and particularly so in the central and north-central portions of the state.
On August 27, 1910 a memo was posted in the Alexandria Town Talk that there would be a monument in memory of the departed Confederate Veterans who fought in the American Civil War, and it would be known as the “Pride of Alexandria.” The monument was first placed at the City Hall square at Third and Murray Streets. In 1962--during statewide celebrations all across the South for the 100-year anniversary of the Civil War--a new city hall building was opened, and the monument was moved from its original spot to the new location. When the monument reached its new home, the it had been turned facing north rather than south how it was in its first spot. In 1973, white residents of Alexandria and Rapides Parish turned out for a ceremony to take place to honor Confederate Memorial Day--a state holiday active in many if not all of the former Confederate states. Residents decorated the monument, and a parade rolled through town in honor of its white supremacist history.
The off the schedule ceremony
took place in June of 1973 preceding the lengthy parade that was accompanied by speeches from John Overton and a presentation by Mrs. Ada Hale Johnson, the president of the UDC
chapter. The biggest highlights of the
unveiling ceremony was the presentation of the old battle flag from the
Cheneyville Rifles to the UDC chapter by Col L. B. Claiborne.
More recently in March of 2017, a meeting of Alexandria City Council members discussed removal of the monument. However, because the monument rests on land technically owned by the UDC, it cannot be removed by the city.