The Sons of Confederate Veterans organization is building a $50,000 memorial with large columns and 36 different flags from the Confederate States of America. The site will be on the Interstate 10 access road by Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Tuesday morning, several black citizens in Orange appeared before the Orange City Council to say they don't want to see the Confederate flag on the highway named for the civil rights leader.
Granvel Block of Orange is the commander of the statewide SVC group and the Orange camp. He said the memorial will be for educational purposes. For instance, most people don't know that the confederacy had 36 different flags. At the memorial, each flag with have a name plate and history of the flag. He hopes the memorial will become a tourist attraction for Orange.
He described the memorial as a design to resemble the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., with columns in a circle, but without the dome. The 13 white columns will represent each of the 13 states in the confederacy.
The group received a city of Orange building permit for the project in January. Block said the recent rainy weather has delayed the beginning of construction. He expects the dedication to draw a crowd from across the country.
He described the memorial as a design to resemble the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., with columns in a circle, but without the dome. Three steps will lead up to the columns, which will represent each of the 13 states in the confederacy.
People who have Confederate ancestors or relatives who were in the SCV have bought memorial bricks and benches for the memorial. Block said the flags and memorial will be seen from the new overpass at MLK Drive and the lights from the overpass with shine on the memorial to make it a sight of beauty.
Block said the group wants to preserve history. He said some people, white and black, do not like the Confederate battle flag design because they don’t understand the history. “So many things (about the Confederacy) have been taught wrong or with a poor skew,” he said. As examples, he said the Civil War was not fought over slavery and that slaves were owned in the north, not exclusively in the south. He said individual state governments were sovereign and that “our states were invaded by northern troops.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans received a city of Orange building permit for the project in January and paid the $260 fee. Block said the recent rainy weather has delayed the beginning of construction. He expects the dedication to draw a crowd from across the country. The SCV has more than 35,000 members internationally and about 3,000 in Texas, he said. The SCV also has local groups, known as 'camps,' in Beaumont, Woodville and Lake Charles.
The building site is triangular and 0.45 acre. The Orange County Appraisal District reports that Block bought the land in May 2010 for $10,000 in the name of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The site is appraised at $9,500 and the annual tax bill of about $260 has been sent to the national organization in Tennessee.