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Project Say Something has picked this statue of Dred Scott and his wife, Harriett, for a proposed monument that would be placed in front of the Lauderdale county Courthouse as a companion to the Civil War monument. [COURTESY PHOTO]

FLORENCE — A proposal to erect a sculpture of Dred and Harriett Scott in front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse as a companion piece to the Civil War monument will be presented to county commissioners on Monday.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the Lauderdale County Courthouse.

Four speakers plan to make their presentation in three-minute increments to remain in compliance with the commission's public comment rules, according to Project Say Something Director Camille Bennett.

"We'll (each) have three minutes to be as thorough as we possibly can," Bennett said. "We can supplement the presentation with information we can put in their hands."

Those presenting have said they have no intentions of asking that the existing monument be removed, which is prohibited by state law.

Instead, they want the bronze Scott sculpture to explain another side of the conflict.

After reviewing various concepts, the group selected a design offered by Wyoming sculptor David Allen Clark that shows Scott and his wife pulling chains that are attached to their wrists with shackles.

Bennett previously stated that many members of the board agreed the sculpture would be the best concept to complement the existing Civil War monument.

Bennett said she anticipates additional presentations to the commission in the future. Much of what Project Say Something wants to accomplish hinges on whether or not commissioners will allow the group to place a sculpture in front of the building.

"That's the bottom line," she said. "We're hoping this is a series of presentations, not a one and done. There's way too much to talk about."

She said the first presentation will provide commissioners with the basic information about their proposal. 

Project Say Something member Lee Freeman said the group's representatives will meet this week to review the text of their presentations.

"It explains our proposal and why we think a monument honoring Dred Scott would be appropriate in front of the courthouse," Freeman said.

Dred Scott lived in Florence for about 10 years between 1820 and 1830, Freeman said. There is a historical marker on Pine Street that tells about his time in the city.

Freeman said the group has received some positive feedback and some opposition.

As a local historian, Freeman said he is against removing public monuments, regardless of whether you disagree with what they symbolize. He said the group is not trying to be controversial or offensive, but is attempting to place the whole era into a more comprehensive context.

"Hopefully, this will spur other areas to have discussions like this," Freeman said.


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