There are a number of museums that tell those stories spread across Alabama, but the Confederate Memorial Park is different. It is the only museum in the state that has a dedicated revenue stream codified in the state’s constitution. So while other museums struggle to keep their doors open, search for grants for funding and depend on volunteer staff, the Confederate Memorial Park is flush with cash. In 2020 alone, the park received $670,000 in taxpayer dollars. That’s about $22 per visitor and more than five times the $4 admission price for adults.
There are scattered mentions of slavery throughout the displays, but for the most part, the museum focuses on the story of Confederate soldiers on the battlefield, mostly highlighting the bravery they displayed and the principles they were fighting for. The exhibit quotes Confederates like E.S. Dargan, who said: “If the relation of master and slave be dissolved, and our slaves turned loose amongst us without restraint, they would either be destroyed by our own hands — the hands to which they look with confidence, for protection — or we ourselves would become demoralized and degraded.”
Alabama spends more than a half-million dollars a year on a Confederate memorial. Black historical sites struggle to keep their doors open.
MOUNTAIN CREEK, Ala. – Down a country road, past a collection of ramshackle mobile homes, sits a 102-acre “shrine to the honor of Alabama’s citizens of the Confederacy.” The state’s Confederate Memorial Park is a sprawling complex, home to a small museum and two well-manicured cemeteries with neat rows of headstones – that look a lot like those in Arlington National Cemetery – for hundreds of Confederate veterans.