Designed by Hungarian American sculptor George Julian Zolnay, who created other Confederate statues, including a monument to Jefferson Davis, the monument in Centennial Park was dedicated in 1909 in an extravagant ceremony. “Tears came into the eyes of Confederate veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy” as the “magnificent bronze monument to the Confederate private soldier” was unveiled, the Nashville American newspaper reported.
The Centennial Park statue is not the first to be doused with red substances in the past week. Charleston, S.C., police announced Sunday that they had arrested two people accused of throwing paint on the Confederate Defenders of Charleston monument.
The monuments’ defacement comes as calls to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces have grown more urgent in recent years, particularly in the wake of a 2015 mass shooting at a black church in Charleston and the 2017 Charlottesville clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters left one woman dead. Critics of the statues argue that such monuments glorify the country’s history of slavery and racism. In 2017, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) decided to remove four such monuments from the city.