September 24, 2020

Confederate statue in Oxford can be moved to another location, AG’s office says

The Confederate statue in front of the Lafayette County courthouse can be moved from its current location, according to an official opinion sent to the county Board of Supervisors from Attorney General Jim Hood’s office—provided it stays in the county and on public property.

The Board of Supervisors requested the opinion asking whether “the Board has the discretion to relocate a statue, erected on the courthouse grounds in 1907 in honor of those who served in the military on the side of the Confederacy, at a location outside Lafayette County in the event the Board determined, in its discretion, the other location was more appropriate in displaying the statue.”

The official response, issued by Deputy Attorney General Mike Lanford, says “…it is our opinion that a monument may be ‘moved’ … only to the extent that such movement does not amount to a prohibited ‘removal’ or ‘relocation’ …”

“In the case of the county, for example, a monument may be ‘moved’ within the county jurisdictional limits to some other more suitable location on county property,” the opinion continues. “[T]his may be done upon a finding by the board of supervisors that such location is more appropriate for displaying the monument. A monument may not be ‘removed’ from the county or from public property.”

Local residents recently discussed the statue, erected in front of the courthouse in 1907, at a September Board of Supervisors meeting.

“This is a discussion,” board president Jeff Busby said, according to The Oxford Eagle. “No decision will be made on the subject tonight.”

Read the opinion in its entirety, including the letter from the Board of Supervisors: