200609-CONFEDERATE MONUMENT 2

Confederate Monument in front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse in Florence. [PATRICK HOOD/TIMESDAILY/File]

FLORENCE — The Lauderdale County Republican Executive Committee has issued a resolution calling for the Confederate monument to remain in front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse, and Project Say Something has responded with a rebuttal.

The Republican resolution also states the committee would "attempt to hold the Lauderdale County Commission and city of Florence civilly liable" if either violates the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. That includes if the county allows the city on county property to move the monument.

The document concludes by calling for all elected officials, with the exception of judges, to publicly state their position on the issue. It declares moving the monument a "cowardly" act by any governmental agency.

This comes amid discussion of moving the monument to the Soldier's Rest area in Florence City Cemetery.

The county has sent a letter to Mayor Steve Holt stating no opposition to the city moving the monument, but city officials said they want it in the form of a resolution from the County Commission.

That came after Lauderdale County Commission Chairman Danny Pettus presented a letter from Suzanna E. Rawlins, president of the Alabama Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, that declares the city owns the statue.

Project Say Something originated the request and it and other groups have held numerous rallies in favor of the move. Rallies also have occurred from those who want the monument to stay.

The June 2 Republican resolution is titled "Resolution for Preservation of Lauderdale County History" and states such monuments preserve the "courage of our ancestors," which it says is "key to understanding the cost of the liberties we enjoy today."

It states the Confederate Army "fought against oppressive taxation and to preserve states' rights, in an army that included African-Americans in support and combat roles."

It further states "liberal and radical organizations" are behind the movement to move the monument.

Project Say Something issued a rebuttal resolution Monday that states moving the monument does not compromise the preservation of the county's history and declares the Republican Executive Committee resolution contains "inflammatory language that purposely mischaracterizes" the protests to move the monument.

It also requests the party to clarify the term "courage," and asks if that includes "courage to own other people" and abuse them. It further declares that the monument "glorifies the slaveholding Confederacy and contains the words 'glory stands beside our grief.'"

The Project Say Something resolution states the courthouse is intended to be a place of justice and that Project Say Something will continue to oppose "white supremacy and all of its symbols."

"We will continue to protest daily and exercise our First Amendment rights despite daily harassment, threats of violence and even threats of death by counter-protesters," it states.

The Republican resolution points out President Donald Trump signed an executive order on June 26 stating it is appropriate to withhold federal support of law enforcement agencies that do not protect public monuments.

In addition, the state's Memorial Preservation Act, passed in 2017, outlaws moving a monument that is more than 40 years old, like the one outside the courthouse, and imposes a $25,000 fine, the resolution points out. Holt has said local private business owners have committed funds to pay for the fine and cost of moving the monument.

The resolution also states that a poll shows 66% of county residents want the monument to remain.

The Project Say Something document challenges the credibility of the poll, and compares the Republican Executive Committee resolution to Gov. George Wallace's 1963 unsuccessful attempt to block two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama, saying the county party's resolution will help them "document the living history of white supremacy in the Shoals."

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bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

(3) comments

Drew Talley

Protecting that Statue means moving it to an appropriate place. Enough with the excuses, move the statue to the cemetery!

Common Sense

Seriously? This group wanted to move this statue, and if I remember correctly, even wanted to raise the money to have it moved. They came to the table civilly and respectfully. They didn't come and tear it down like others have done around the country. And thats the response you give them? Of all the people who are against having it relocated (not torn down), how many of you actually go down and enjoy the statue? Hiw many bring their families down and show it off and enjoy it? I'd bet not many. Nobody cares about that statue until someone else wants it moved. Its pretty silly to me.

Dianne Richerson

Just move it and move on!

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