Some Mississippi counties are debating whether to move Confederate monuments that have stood for more than a century outside courthouses or in other prominent spots on public property. Photo by Donna Ladd
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Some Mississippi counties are debating whether to move Confederate monuments that have stood for more than a century outside courthouses or in other prominent spots on public property.
The potential changes are happening as Confederate monuments are being removed in some other southern states amid protests against racism.
On Monday, supervisors in majority-black Washington County voted 4-1 to work with a local historical commission to find a new place for the monument that's outside the courthouse in Greenville, the Delta Democrat-Times reported.
Supervisors in majority-white Forrest County voted 3-2 Monday to let voters decide in November whether to move a Confederate monument that was donated to the county in 1910. News outlets reported the decision was made after several people spoke for and against moving the statue. A new site has not been proposed for the monument in a county named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general who later became a leader in the Ku Klux Klan.
A Mississippi law enacted in 2004 says no war monument may be “relocated, removed, disturbed, altered, renamed or rededicated.” But the law also says: “The governing body may move the memorial to a more suitable location if it is determined that the location is more appropriate to displaying the monument.”
In majority-white Lafayette County, a diverse group of people carried signs Monday outside the new courthouse, calling on supervisors to remove a Confederate monument that stands outside the old courthouse nearby. The Oxford Eagle reported that supervisors set a June 22 public hearing.
The monument outside the Lafayette County Courthouse is about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from a similar one that has been the subject of debate on the University of Mississippi campus. More than a year ago, student and faculty leaders and university administrators said the Confederate soldier statue should be moved from a spot near the main administrative building into a Civil War cemetery in a secluded part of the campus. The state College Board has delayed a decision on moving the monument, but could discuss the issue at Thursday's meeting.
A former University of Mississippi student was arrested May 30 after he spray painted “Spiritual Genocide” and left bloody handprints on the monument on campus. He was charged with defacing public property. The monument has already been cleaned.