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The Henry County Board of Commissioners voted to remove the Confederate statue from the McDonough Square, a space reportedly owned by the Henry County government.

McDONOUGH – The statue on the McDonough Square will be removed and moved to another location to be determined, but it will not be destroyed.

The Henry County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday, with Gary Barham voting in opposition, to remove the Confederate statue from the McDonough Square within 60 days and to either donate it or move to an area deemed appropriate.

Those that voted in favor, including District 2 Commissioner Dee Clemmons, who requested the item be placed on the agenda, emphatically stated that the statue would not be destroyed, but would be preserved and placed in storage.

Clemmons mentioned that the area within the McDonough Square is owned by the Henry County government and stated the area is not the place for a Confederate monument.

Vivian Thomas, who represents District 4, stated that the McDonough Square, like any other public space supported by taxpayer dollars, should be a place for people to feel welcomed and not intimidated.

“It is intimidating to some people,” Thomas said of the statue. “We are not surrounded by other (statues) from other cultures. The Holocaust was horrible, but you don’t see symbols of Adolf Hitler. There are places where you can choose where you can learn about it, but it shouldn’t be in my passing.”

District 3 Commissioner Gary Barham, who voted against the motion, asked to table the motion so District 1 Commissioner Johnny Wilson could provide his opinions. Wilson was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

“There’s a lot of different views on the statue,” Barham said. “We need to let everybody be heard, in public hearings or more Zoom meetings, I’m open for discussions. Slavery was the worst thing to happen in this country, and I’m ashamed of it, but that (statue) doesn’t just represent slavery. People that fought for the Confederacy couldn’t even decide. They were just drafted, whether they believed in it or not.”

Barham argued that removing the statue would be “sanitizing history.”

The statue, located in the center of the McDonough Square, was erected in 1910 by funds raised through the Charles T. Zachry Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

There were discussions concerning who owned the statue in the first place, and no one in the meeting – commissioners or County Attorney Patrick Jaugstetter – was able to answer whether or not the statue was owned by the county or the city of McDonough or by a private party, as neither Henry County’s or McDonough’s records stretched as far back as 1910.

A petition had been placed online calling for the statue’s removal, which had been signed by over 13,500 respondents.

The petition refers to the statue as a product of a movement known as the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” that refers to the Confederate cause during the American Civil War as just and heroic.

“It is an ideology that endorses the supposed virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the war as a struggle primarily to save the Southern way of life, or to defend ‘states’ rights,’ in the face of overwhelming ‘Northern aggression,’” wrote petition writer William Crane. “At the same time, the Lost Cause minimizes or even denies outright the central role of slavery in the buildup to and outbreak of the Civil War.”

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Government Reporter

A native of Hampton, Georgia, Joe Adgie has worked for the Valdosta Daily Times, Clayton News, Rockdale Citizen and Newton Citizen. Adgie joined the Henry Herald in April 2018.

(9) comments

Zeitlan

Why was the statue put there and other places to begin with? When they move that thing to a cemetery, people aren’t going to go see it. The people behind erecting that waste of concrete were trying to exemplify “The Lost Cause” while rewriting school books to teach that slaves were having barbecues and frolics.

Manelioness

LMAO, The statues were erected over 100 years ago, I do not believe those people had barbecues back then! I don’t think school books rewrote history in 1900! I can’t ask anyone as they are all dead!

Biff Langley

Truly a sad day in Henry County and city of McDonough!!!

As a person who grew up in McDonough and a Veteran of the Armed Forces of these United States of America, I hate to see a statue commemorating and honoring the brave solders from Henry County who fought and died for cause, even though flawed, being removed.

As someone who reads a lot about History, I can tell you that depending on who you were during the Civil War determined “WHY” you were fighting. If you where from the North it was “to preserve the Union”. If you were an average solder in the Confederate army who in most cases did not own slaves it was for “States Rights”. If you were a wealthy plantation owner it was “to continue the institution of slavery”. If you were Black it was “for your freedom”. Those are the facts.

That statue being removed is NOT saying “Slavery is Good”. We all today can agree slavery was an abomination to freedom and liberty of men and women everywhere, and who in the eyes of God are “ALL created equal”. That statue was saying “Thank you to all those brave young men for fighting and for some that meant dying, in what they believed was right at that time in our nations history. We as citizens of Henry County will not forget your scacrifices”. That what that statue on the square in McDonough means and is saying.

All men and women have flaws and have done things in their lives that they regret and are not proud of. If you start taking down statues of the men who were not “Perfect” that means ALL THE STATUES WILL HAVE TO COME DOWN!!!

So we are going to start removing the statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? What about the great Martin Luther King Jr?? We certainly can not have a statue to a man who admitted to plagiarizing his theological works, cheating multiple times on his wife and viewed homosexuality as a mental disease that could be “prayed away”!!!

Is this where we are headed, REALLY???

I sincerely pray that is not the case!

I believe the Bible says: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”.

Manelioness

It is not about statues! It is about HATRED and power and the people behind the destruction of the status quo are Marxists! This is just the beginning of their quest to destroy our society!

Baman

Thank god it was so unwelcoming, the square is beautiful and there is no longer going to be a reminder and monument to dark times and the shame of America. Its symbolic change but change nonetheless.

Manelioness

Hopefully the City of McDonough will obtain legal counsel to confirm that the BOC has the legal authority to make this decision!

abm915

Well... most of us knew this was coming. Still sucks. Anyone who is "intimidated" by a statue thats been here since before ANY of us were born should consider their choices in life. You were either born here and stayed or you moved here and have stayed. Either way you made a decision all your own.

No real reason to remove this other than that you want to. This should have been on the ballot instead of leaving it to the BOC who is already known for making poor decisions that don't reflect what the majority prefer.

Charlemagne

Having a symbol of treason and a person who aided a cause to protect slavery and to kill over 365,000 US soldiers is repulsive. As a veteran and a descendant of a Southern Union soldier, I cannot fathom why anyone would want this symbol antithetical to the US flag and our soldiers in the public square. This does not need to be on the ballot. You elect representatives to address these issues. In this case, they did and did so correctly. We have no reason to elevate treason to prominence in our community.

Manelioness

The BOC has unelected bureaucrats from other cities that have taken it upon themselves to force their agenda on McDonough City. I hope the Cities Legal Counsel will challenge their overreach. What is next, abolishing or “defunding” McDonough Police? They should have no jurisdiction over the City!

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