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Black Lives Matter wants cornerstone removed from Oklahoma museum because it contains a swastika

Cornerstone was installed before Nazi Germany
Posted at 7:34 AM, Sep 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 12:21:55-04

CLAREMORE, Okla. -- A Black Lives Matter group in Oklahoma group is calling a symbol at a museum outside of Tulsa offensive and asking for it to be removed. 

The cornerstone of the Claremore Museum of History contains a swastika, but some historians argue that the symbol was included before the rise of Nazi Germany.

“It was the cornerstone in Clem Van Rogers livery stable," Will Rogers Memorial Museum Public Relations Director Pat Reeder said. “They sold it for $400 and in 1936 they started this building and Will had already died and they decided to name it for him."

It's a piece of history that's been around for more than 100 years and sits on the south side of the building at the Claremore Museum of History. 

"I think it’s offensive to me that someone would think that a cornerstone would be so hate-filled you’d have to remove it," Reeder said. 

The symbol on top of the cornerstone is under fire. 

“For Native Americans, it was very much life, earth and sun that’s what it meant to them," Reeder said.

Reeder remembers it as a patch on soldiers uniforms of the 45th division in World War I, who were mostly from Oklahoma. 

“I couldn’t find anything that called it a name," she said. "I think it was given the name when Hitler decided he needed a symbol.” 

Reverend Mareo Johnson, a Black Lives Matter activist in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wants the cornerstone removed. 

“When you see it now it’s a public representation of hate and regardless of what it meant then it’s how people see it now," he said. 

Reverend Johnson says the meaning has changed overtime and wants any sign of hate removed. 

“The swastika sign is the main point and everything else is fine it’s that symbol that is connected to hate," he said. 

He wants the country to move forward. 

“I don’t believe that it will be too hard of a process because it’s very understandable," Rev. Johnson sad. 

Reeder argues that the monument has largely flown under the radar in the decades since it's been installed.

Rev. Johnson says he plans to reach out and set up a meeting with the president of the museum to express his concerns.