An obscure plaque honoring a highway dedicated to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but never built, was quickly and quietly removed from the floor of a pavilion at a downtown San Diego park Wednesday morning.
The plaque, which had been inlaid into the floor of the pavilion, “was once a part of a larger totem to Davis, but was reduced in size and stature after the downtown park was redeveloped last year. It specifically honored Jefferson Davis Highway, a planned transcontinental road that was to extend from Virginia to California,” the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer—who earlier this week gave a speech on his vision for a new, kinder, gentler GOP—reportedly ordered the plaque removed immediately. “San Diegans stand together against Confederate symbols of division,” he was reported to have said.
According to the text on the plaque, which was embedded in the tile floor, the monument dated back to 1926 and was presented to the city of San Diego by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Democrat City Councilman Chris Ward, who represents the downtown area, tweeted a picture of the tile after the plaque had been removed, adding, “Monuments to bigotry have no place in #SanDiego – or anywhere!”
— Christopher Ward (@ChrisWardD3) August 16, 2017
Illustrating how urgent any images or representations of the Confederacy have become for many politicians, the local Fox affiliate (Fox 5) reported that that a group calling itself San Diegans Against Racism posted an online petition, and by 8 am, before it had even received the requisite number of signatures, Ward announced the plaque had been removed.
The national debate sparked by the violence and deaths in Charlottesville, Virginia is unlikely to abate any time soon.
Fox 5 reports that there is an extensive list of monuments across the country, somewhere close to 1500, although many are simply historical markers that are not pro-Confederacy.