In Lee County, Mississippi: No vote on moving rebel statue

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A Mississippi county named for a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is keeping a Confederate monument outside a courthouse — at least for now.

The only Black member of the Lee County Board of Supervisors sought a vote Monday on moving a rebel statue that stands outside an old courthouse. News outlets reported that none of the four white supervisors seconded the motion from Tommie Lee Ivy. So, no vote took place.

Ivy said many citizens sent him emails and called him in support of removing the statue.

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He is not sure if he will try to remove the statue again, according to WTVA-TV.

One of the white supervisors, Phil Morgan, said moving the statue would not have any “effective results in race relations in the county,” and that by not voting to relocate the statue he was in “no way condoning slavery or racism.”

“I am convinced the only way to change racism in men and women is to change their hearts. I believe God is the only answer,” Morgan said according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

The monument was put up in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was initially placed on Main Street, but was moved in the 1930s to a spot by a courthouse, where it still stands. The building now houses the county tax assessor’s and collector’s offices.

During the past few weeks, supervisors in Mississippi’s Bolivar, Leflore, Lowndes, Noxubee and Washington counties have voted to move Confederate statues away from courthouses. But, those in Lafayette, Neshoba and Lauderdale counties have voted to keep monuments in place.

A Mississippi law enacted in 2004 says no war monument may be “relocated, removed, disturbed, altered, renamed or rededicated.” But the law also says: “The governing body may move the memorial to a more suitable location if it is determined that the location is more appropriate to displaying the monument.”

Forrest County supervisors said in June that they will let voters decide in November whether to move a Confederate monument that was donated to the county in 1910. In Harrison County on the Gulf Coast, residents have asked supervisors to remove Confederate soldier statues.