RICHMOND, Texas (AP) — A Black resident of a Texas city that has a statue honoring three white supremacists has attempted to take ownership of it in an effort to remove it.
Tres Davis, who has lived in Richmond for 15 years, would like the monument to be moved to a museum, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The monument pays respects to three members of a white supremacist group called the Jaybirds, which sought to take control of the Fort Bend County government from the Woodpeckers, a group that included many Blacks elected during Reconstruction.
In my view, the monument is a direct slap and insult to African-Americans of Richmond and Fort Bend,” the 53-year-old said.
While community members have called for the statue to be removed, questions have arose about whether the county government or Richmond owns the statue.
“If it’s abandoned, nobody owns it. Why can’t I own it?” Davis said.
Davis did some research on Texas property laws and decided to put a sign on the monument, with his intentions to own it. He also sent notices in July to city and county officials, including the city attorney and manager.
That same month, the city responded in a letter that they have “constructive possession” over the monument, forbidding Davis or anyone associated with him from moving it.
The city attorney noted that the statue is located on property owned by the city since 1940.
City Manager Terri Vela told the newspaper that the ownership of the monument has switched between the city and county through the years.
“Our City thrives on being a place where hate and racial prejudices will not be tolerated,” Vela said Tuesday. “Saying that, we continue to work with our community partners and private citizens to find the best solution.”
Removing the statue has been a topic of discussion in recent years, but the issue has been revitalized following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Floyd died after an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. The death of Floyd sparked protests worldwide against racial injustice and police brutality and pushed communities to remove images and symbols of white supremacy and the Confederacy.