BASTROP, Texas - Recent civil unrest has not only sparked protests across the country, but also renewed the debate about Confederate monuments, a conversation happening in Bastrop County.
County Judge Paul Pape says now is the time to decide what to do with two monuments on the county courthouse lawn.
At a special called Bastrop County Commissioner's Court hearing, resident Rev. Bernie Jackson recalled the times in elementary school when she would receive heavily used textbooks for class. "All of the lines where it would allow me to put my name had already been filled because the books came from the all-white school," she said.
She remembered feeling like she didn't matter. "I remember seeing the n-word in the margins of those books that were dispersed to us to learn. I felt so unimportant, I felt so small," she said.
Jackson was one of several speakers at the meeting recalling what they feel when they see the Confederacy honored on the Bastrop County Courthouse lawn. The Court called for the meeting to discuss racial injustice and consideration for removing or keeping the monuments.
"Webster's Dictionary defines a veteran as someone who served in the military, especially during the war. Confederate veterans definitely meet this definition," said veteran Carl Rees.
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Rees says that even if there is disagreement on the values of the Confederacy, they still served their country. "They were fighting, shedding blood on American soil, fighting for what they believed in. You may not agree with some of what they believed in, but they sure did," Rees said.
"Our history is what it is. To erase it, to move it, marginalize it, dooms us to repeat it," said another attendee.
Others like Jackson believe the statues only rectify a racist past and prevent true healing.
"We've come to a point now where we can't do nothing, something has to be done one way or another," said Pape, who says he already has a resolution in the works to present to the Commissioners. "I certainly do have personal thoughts on those monuments, we have not made a decision yet but put a lot of thought into the proper way to move forward with this."
He added, "If the question came up today, would you like to put up a monument to the South and veterans that fought in the Civil War, I think the answer would be easy and clear. The time has come for us to do something about it."
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Once the judge presents the resolution to the Commissioners, it will still need to be voted on. The majority of those who want the statues removed have said they would not like them destroyed, but instead put in a museum or cemetery with context.