Montreal has no place for the memory of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America.
On Tuesday, a downtown Hudson’s Bay Company store took down a plaque that honored Davis’s stay in Montreal, when he was the guest of a Canadian printer named John Lovell. Montreal was a favorite sight for Confederate spies during the Civil War and while Canada was officially neutral during that conflict, a large swath of the population sympathized with the Confederacy and thousands even volunteered to fight for it.
The plaque was commemorated in 1957 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and simply reads, “To the memory of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States, who lived in 1867 in the home of John Lovell, which was once here.” The UDC was established following the Civil War to assist in the removal of Confederate dead from battlefields and to establish cemeteries for their proper burial.
The plaque is just one of thousands of that the UDC originated. The one in Montreal went largely unnoticed for decades and was removed after a handful of people complained after the Charlottesville riot, claiming it celebrated white supremacy.
Some people had noticed the plaque before the clash in Charlottesville.
Andrew Papenheim was one of them. He often walked past the store and wondered why the plaque was there.
“I’m not sure why we would go out of our way to commemorate this dark and horrible thing. Jefferson Davis was not an honourable man, he committed treason in defence of chattel slavery,” he told CBC News.
Mark Warner has also been agitating to get the plaque removed. He frequently sent Twitter posts to Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre telling him to do something about the plaque.
“A plaque that’s donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, without any context, to the honour of the president of the Confederacy who defended slavery is an offence to me as a black Canadian,” Warner told CBC News.
He received no replies from Coderre, but the city eventually informed him that the plaque was attached to private property and was not a municipal matter.
The Hudson’s Bay Company did not respond to queries from The Daily Caller regarding the fate of the plaque.
The UDC did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller.