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SB's DAR Leader Agrees Courthouse Markers Should Go -- Suggests Possible "Replacement Plaques"

The leader of Santa Barbara's Daughters of the American Revolution chapter on Monday agreed that two controversial plaques on the Courthouse grounds that celebrate the Spanish Colonial period should be removed.

Jane Frederick, Regent of the Mission Canyon Chapter of the DAR, told Newsmakers that the plaques, dated 1927 and 1938, were donated by now-defunct branches of the national non-profit group.

"We don't object," to the removal of the two markers, Frederick said. "The reconsideration of colonization is completely under scrutiny right now, and they need to come down."

As we reported earlier, the older marker commemorates the arrival in Santa Barbara of an expedition led by colonial governor Gaspar de Portola in 1769, identified as "the first white men to march through the wilderness of California." The other honors "the first white women and children who marched through California," and encamped nearby, with a group of families led by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776.

After learning of the two markers, Board of Supervisors Chair Gregg Hart denounced their "racist and offensive language" and said he would see to their removal. Both he and Frederick confirmed Monday that they spoke after our post was published.

"He was really wanting to be reassured that we wouldn't object," to the removal, Frederick told us. "Jane supports removing the plaques," said Gregg.

A 1972 and 1976 member of the USA Olympic Track and Field Team, who set the first official world record in the women's heptathlon, Frederick said she became concerned about the language of the markers when she first learned of them after becoming active in the DAR several years ago; as the current chapter Regent, she said, she now has surveyed the executive board and there is "consensus" for supporting Hart's move.

The DAR is active in historic preservation and Frederick added that the local chapter will consider the appropriateness of a possible "plaque replacement" for the Courthouse marker; the group will "investigate whether the events honored were important enough" to deserve historic commemoration and, if so, determine what updated, "collaborative language" is appropriate for describing them.

"We'll talk about what's next," she added.

Image: Jane Frederick (Santa Barbara Independent).

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