The debate over a Confederate statue moves to city hall.
A handful of residents spoke at tonight’s Amarillo City Council meeting.
People on both sides of the debate got a chance to address the city council about the Confederate statue in Ellwood Park.
The statue has been there since 1931, but following the events in Charlottesville, some started questioning whether the statue is appropriate.
As we reported yesterday, city council members will not be able to debate the issue because it is not on the agenda, and they definitely will not take any action on it but they are prepared to listen.
In fact, three members we spoke with yesterday said they look forward to a respectful debate.
The statue in question honors the Confederate soldiers as a whole, not one person in particular.
It had existed in Ellwood Park without controversy until the most recent violence in Virginia.
That is when a local group started a petition with plans of asking the city council to have it removed.
That, in turn, led to another group defending the statue and its history.
In fact, on Sunday, a group of supporters sporting Confederate battle flags came to clean the statue.
Some of the residents had this to say:
“We hope that those of you who have been elected to represent all the people will do the right thing and have the statue relocated to a more appropriate place,” said one resident who wants the statue removed.
“I hope that we leave the statue where it is. It hasn’t hurt anybody in 86 years and I don’t think it’s hurting anybody now,” said another in opposition to removal.
“Where’s the statue of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas,” asked another.
As we reported yesterday, the statue is not going anywhere anytime soon unless someone does something similar to what happened in Durham, North Carolina, where they illegally tore down a statue of Robert E. Lee in front of the county courthouse.
We explained the petition process to get this on the ballot would be tough, but a petition is not necessary.
The city council as a whole could vote to have it removed or they could put it on the ballot for voters to decide.
At the time of the statue dedication in Amarillo, the featured speaker was Congressman Marvin Jones.
He was quoted as calling Robert E. Lee the greatest fighting man of all time and seemed to shift the blame for slavery on the northern states.