Tarrant County Commissioners vote to remove marker dedicated to Confederate soldiers

Photo by Amber Shumake Confederate monument on Tarrant County Courthhouse grounds with covering from recent protests.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Officials in two North Texas counties voted Tuesday to remove Confederate monuments from their courthouse grounds.

Commissioners of Tarrant and Denton counties voted Tuesday to remove the monuments.
The Tarrant County monument had been erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1953. Commissioner Roy Brooks proposed its removal, saying he “would argue that it’s not a memorial at all, rather that it was erected in 1953 as a reminder to the black citizens of this county and of this state that the rules of Jim Crow were still in effect.”
Tarrant commissioners voted 4-0 with Commissioner J.D. Johnson of Precinct 4 abstaining.

The Denton County monument was erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1918.
Commissioners of both counties said their actions were taken to promote racial harmony amid protests of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.

“There is an overwhelming sense that the deep consciousness of America has been touched by events in recent weeks,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads, leader of the commissioners court, said of protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Both counties said their monuments would be placed in storage until alternate sites could be found.

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During recent protests that started following the death of George Floyd, the Tarrant County monument was draped with a covering as the photo above shows. 

The tall granite memorial is on the grounds of the courthouse, southeast of the main entrance. It was erected in 1953 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, according to the monument.

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The Tarrant County Equality Union started a petition to have the monument removed saying it “is offensive and intimidating to many who enter the courthouse hoping for equal justice.”

Officials elsewhere also are trying to take down Old South monuments.

A statue of a Confederate soldier was removed from a park in Jacksonville, Florida, early Tuesday, but a judge temporarily blocked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond. The Alabama coastal city of Mobile took down a statue of a Confederate naval officer this week, but isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be returned to the same spot.

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In Tennessee, Republican lawmakers are resisting calls to remove a bust from the Capitol of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general who became an early leader in the Ku Klux Klan. The state also has a day in Forrest’s honor.

The removals aren’t isolated to the South. In Indiana, a monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers who died at a Union prison camp in Indianapolis was dismantled on Monday.

In London, the mayor announced Tuesday that more statues of imperialist figures could be removed from Britain’s streets after protesters knocked down the monument to a slave trader, as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued to spark protests — and drive change — around the world.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was setting up a commission to ensure the British capital’s monuments reflected its diversity. It will review statues, murals, street art, street names and other memorials and consider which legacies should be celebrated, the mayor’s office said.

“It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been willfully ignored,” Khan said.

International protests of racial injustice and police violence that Floyd’s May 25 death spurred show no sign of abating. A white police officer who pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes has been charged with murder.

In Britain, where more than 200 demonstrations have been held so far, people gathered in London’s Parliament Square for a vigil timed to coincide with Floyd’s funeral.

  • The Associated Press contributed to this report