Calls to remove Confederate statues continue after Hero Protection Act fails

Confederate statue in Georgetown's Town Square (Nexstar Photo)
Confederate statue in Georgetown's Town Square (Nexstar Photo)

AUSTIN (NEXSTAR) — Should they stay or should they go? That’s the question at the center of controversies over Confederate statues.

Known as the Texas Hero Protection Act, a bill that would have protected memorials for Confederate leaders, failed to pass this session.

A 100-year-old statue of a Confederate soldier towers over Georgetown’s square. The city answered calls to take it down with another statue — the goal was balance.

“I don’t see how he balances the Confederate statue if anything it highlights the injustice even more,” said Jaquita Wilson, a Georgetown community activist.

The latest addition to the lawn outside the old courthouse is of Georgetown’s former district attorney, Dan Moody, who prosecuted four Ku Klux Klan members in 1923.

The Moody statue is roughly half the size of the 21-foot-tall monument honoring Confederate soldiers that stands across the courthouse lawn.

“These people served their country and they should be remembered for it,” said retired Colonel Shelby Little, the leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter in Williamson County.

“History is history and it needs to be remembered, needs to be thought about and there are times you shouldn’t repeat history, slavery is one of those times,” Little said.

Wilson argues the statues normalize slavery and make racism feel “comfortable.” She said, “I think people will say well the Confederacy can’t be that bad if we have a statue outside the courthouse.”

She wants the Confederate statue to be moved to a museum or the cemetery in town where more than 130 Confederate soldiers are buried. At the very least, Wilson thinks the town needs to put up a plaque next to the Confederate soldier statue to detail the town’s history of slavery.

Currently, a small plaque outside the old courthouse reads, “African Americans, the largest ethnic group among pioneer settlers, comprised ten percent of the county’s population in 1850 and more than nineteen percent by 1960.”

Wilson wants that plaque removed. She said, “To have a plaque up against the courthouse that states that we weren’t slaves we were pioneers is egregious to the extreme.”

As for the Moody statue, Wilson doesn’t see much balance or historic value in that because it only tells half the story, she said.

Moody did win the first successful convictions of KKK members, but he went on to become governor of Texas and tried to take away African-Americans’ voting rights in the state.

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