WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - It wasn’t the first time Williamson County commissioners were faced with the touchy subject of dealing with the giant stone tribute to confederate veterans that’s been standing outside the courthouse for 101 years.
But Rev. Lou Snead who believes the statue represents racism and white supremacy left Tuesday’s meeting encouraged.
“I was actually more surprised and pleased with the level of conversation that took place among the court and their openness to say we’ve got to deal with this,” Snead said.
Snead is part of a group called Courageous Conversations of Georgetown. They brought a proposal to commissioners court that if it had passed...would have allowed the group to submit an application to the Texas Historical Commission asking them to consider putting a plaque next to the confederate monument giving it some historical context.
The group said it’s a better solution than bringing the soldier down.
“We think it’s got to tell the history. We want the story told. And if you remove that it’s like destroying the history,” Snead said.
One thing the group was hoping the plaque would say is that the statue was put up in 1916 at the height of the Jim Crow era in our country when African Americans were subjected to racial discrimination and segregation.
One speaker at court felt like changing the statue in any way is vandalism.
“I am Asian, I am Native American, I am Polish, I am German, I am Afro-Caribbean, I’m American. And American history needs to be preserved, it does not need to be altered to fit the needs of anyone even if it’s politically correct and popular,” she said.
Others had a different idea.
“A much more constructive approach would be to acknowledge history, erect an adjoining monument of similar size and stature honoring the African American civil rights movement,” the man said.
Commissioners ended up voting against the item 4 to 1.
The single ‘yes’ vote, Commissioner Terry Cook actually doubted the plaque’s impact in the long run.
“I have no confidence that a plaque is going to introduce enough information to really broaden the view of what was going on here. I am fine with the statue stating there but in and of itself, by itself...it really looks around and says ‘remember these walls were written by whites for whites,’” Cook said.
Shelby Little, Commander of the Williamson County Grays says the court made the right call.
“Well we think it’s totally unnecessary. The sentiment on that memorial out there says exactly what the memorial was erected for and what it actually means it’s a veterans memorial, nothing more, nothing less,” Little said.
County Judge Dan Gattis indicated that the discussion will continue about what to do with the statue. He just felt like the plaque would also be divise. He said he’s disappointed in Williamson County that the Confederate soldier is the only soldier on the grounds. As for the idea of a civil rights statue, Gattis said “that may be the way to do it.”