The Union may have triumphed against the Confederates in the Civil War, but did they really win when there are statues commemorating fallen Southern soldiers scattered all over the United States? The efforts to eliminate these symbolically racist relics have stirred protests for equality in the recent past.
The battle rages on, but equal rights activists just won another one. As first reported by Nashville Scene, the city’s iconic Ryman Auditorium has permanently removed its “Confederate Gallery” sign, which commemorated a Confederate veteran reunion. In 1897, the veterans raised money to build the upper level of the venue to be able to accommodate their event.
The sign, which formerly hung across the balcony facing performers, was relocated to a museum exhibit in the building that covers the performance hall’s 125-year past, appropriately regarding the sign as a historical artifact rather than an object of honor.
“If you come to the Ryman [as] a big name performer and you’re looking right out at the center of the balcony and you see that sign, you don’t know what it means,” said Ryman historical consultant David Ewing. “Or if you’re a fan that comes at night, not during the tour, you don’t know what it means either. This is the appropriate place to have the sign and tell the story of 125 years of the Ryman and particularly how the gallery got built.”