Confederate monument draws protesters after committee decides to recommend keeping statue

Confederate monument draws protesters after committee decides to recommend keeping statue

Confederate monument draws protesters after committee decides to recommend keeping statue
February 04
22:42 2018

A small crowd gathered Sunday evening on the courthouse lawn to protest the Confederate monument on the Square after a Confederate Monument Committee decided to recommend keeping the statue and adding context with a 12-3 vote earlier this week.

“The decks are stacked against us,” local activist Willie Hudspeth said. “They have all the votes on that commissioners court. The people will help change that vote. If we want this thing moved then we have to come to the commissioners courts, [show up] Sunday evenings or somewhere and get our voices heard.”

Hudspeth was a member of the advisory committee created by the Denton County Commissioners Court and one of the three who voted against keeping the statue.

The other dissenting votes came from Paul Meltzer and Alfred Sanchez.

Catherine Giles, a volunteer advocate and activist, presented statistics about the 15-member committee. She gathered information which she said proved the committee was stacked.

“The data shows that the committee in no way represented the composition of the diverse citizens of Denton County,” Giles said.

She compared the composition of the committee to the composition of Denton County using 2010 U.S. census data.

Giles said males were overrepresented by 29 percent on the committee. She said the committee members’ ages did not represent Denton County.

In the middle of Hudspeth’s speech, Gary Moore, a demonstrater in favor of keeping the statue, spoke out saying the monument is owned by the state and the commissioners court does not have the power to move it.

Gary Moore, right, debates with protesters. A Denton Committee recently decided to keep the Confederate monument where it is, sparking outrage in part of the Denton community.

Members of the crowd replied that if the commissioners court request to have the statue moved then there is still a chance. 

Moore has been at many of the protests and thinks the statue should remain in its place in front of the Courthouse on the Square.

“The monument is not an issue of hate,” Moore said. “It has nothing hateful about it. There is nothing racist about it. That is nothing more than a monument to the people who fought for the South. It doesn’t mean a hiddle of beans. What really matters is the fact that this is a very unobtrusive monument. It’s very simplistic. It’s been there forever. It’s a key touch point to the entire Square here in Denton County.”

While Moore was discussing with protestors, the crowd began chanting “we are here to protest not debate.”

That ended Moore’s conversation, but he stayed for the entirety of the protest. Moore did not agree with the chant and said protests are about debate.

“I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind,” Moore said. “I’m not trying to force them to believe my way is the right way or the wrong way. I just thought it important to come up here and put an alternative voice in the mix.”

Police officers were stationed throughout the Square in case of conflict, though counterprotesters were not numerous.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy erected the Confederate statue on the Denton Square in 1918. Willie Hudspeth has been protesting the monument since 1999.

A plaque reading “the monument stands as a reminder of historic events and is intended as a memorial to Denton County citizens who sacrificed themselves for the community” was added to the monument in 2010.

After a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville resulted in the death of one woman, the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments nationwide increased. The Commissioners court saw numerous speakers on the subject and eventually organized a committee.

The 15-member Confederate Monument Committee had their first meeting in  October 2017 after being approved by the Denton County Commissioners Court. After three months of studying the history of the statue, hearing from experts and hearing from the public, the committee voted on a recommendation last Thursday.  

Chairman John Baines drew a picture to illustrate his envisioned context for the statue. This was meant as a compromise so the committee could come to a consensus.

The proposed context includes a plaque that will sit under the arch of the monument. The language on the plaque will take a stance against slavery in Denton County. Kiosks will be added on either side of the monument, which will illustrate the history of slavery.

This recommendation will go to the commissioners court on Tuesday.

Margarette Neale has been protesting since August.

“The committee didn’t have a fair representation of demographics of Denton County,” Neale said. “It was predominantly white men who were over the age of 50. Mary Horn [county judge] had indicated in writing and verbally that she wouldn’t move the monument despite what the committee was going to side.”

Protests to remove the statue are planned for every Sunday from Feb. 4 to Feb. 25.

Featured Image: Willie Hudspeth speaks to protesters in response to the decision to keep the Confederate monument in the square. Jacob Ostermann

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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2 Comments

  1. Catherine
    Catherine February 05, 08:20

    1. Denton County Confederate Monument Committee members:
    1. Willie Hudspeth
    2. John Baines
    3. Paul Meltzer
    4. Donna Hernandez
    5. Ronni Cade
    6. Charlotte Mooneyham
    7. Kay Copeland
    8. Zenobia Hutton
    9. Judy Flowers
    10. Alfredo Sanchez
    11. Mike Cochran
    12. Howard Watt
    13. Tim Trylovitch
    14. Mark Bowlin
    15. Fred Rogers

    2. Denton County, TX has a population of 780,612.

    3. Denton County median age of 34.8, or 35.
    All 15 Committee members appear to be over 35 and most middle-aged or elderly. To justly and to truly represent the citizens of Denton County, the committee would have 7 members below 35 and 8 at or above 35.

    4. Denton County Gender population: 97 Men for every 100 women.
    Committee was composed of: 9 males, 6 females. To justly and to truly represent the citizens of Denton County, the committee would have 7 males and 8 females.
    Males were over-represented by almost 29%, with two additional male committee members per population statistics, and females were under-represented by almost 29%, by being under-represented by two female committee members less than female population.

    5. Ethnicity:
    A. 73.33% of committee members were white, even though 60.8% of Denton County population is White.
    B. 6.67% of committee members were Hispanic, even though 19.2% of Denton County is Hispanic.
    C. 20% of committee members were African American, even though 9.5% of Denton County is African American.
    D. 0% of committee members were Asian American, even though 7.95 % of Denton County is Asian American.
    E. 0% of committee members were Multi-Ethnicity, even though 2.24% of Denton County is Multi-Ethnicity.
    Committee Members of the 15 members:
    Whites were over-represented by 22%, instead of 11 Whites, 9 should be represented.
    Hispanics were under-represented by 2/3, instead of 1 Hispanic, 3 should have represented.
    Asian Americans and Multi-Ethnicity Americans were excluded and each should have had representation from a committee member each.
    African Americans were over-represented by 1/3, instead of 3 African Americans, 2 should have represented.

    6. Denton County citizens with a disability:
    184,150/780,612 Male
    183,880/780,612 Female
    How many of committee members live with a disabling condition? 24% of Denton County residents are disabled. 2 male and 2 female committee members should have been members of the disabled community in order to be justly represented and to accurately reflect

    7. LGBTQIA: 4.1% of Americans of combined ages and 7.3% of millennials identify as LGBTQIA.
    In order for the committee to justly and adequately reflect the population of Denton County, the county should not have excluded the LGBTQIA specifically from being represented and should have appointed one committee member, preferably an under age 35 committee member, to represent to LGBTQIA community.

    8. Economic:
    Median household income of $75,649,
    Median property value in Denton County, TX is $224,600,
    Homeownership rate is 64.3%.
    I venture to propose that the committee was comprised most exclusively of those over the median household income, most exclusively property owners, most exclusively over the median property value.
    To justly and adequately reflect and represent the citizen population of Denton County:
    7 members would be below the median household income, 8 above the median household income;
    10 would be property owners, 5 non-property owners;
    in addition of the 10 property owners, to justly represent and to adequately reflect Denton County’s population, 5 would be below the median property value and 5 above the median property value.

    9. Veterans:
    WWII: 408 per 780,612
    Vietnam: 12,251 per 780,612
    Gulf War I 1990’s: 1,559 per 780,612
    Gulf War II 2000’s: 7,997 per 780,612
    Of the approximately 11,189 Veterans in Denton County, 1.43% of Denton County population identifies as a veteran. Veterans were represented on the committee by at least 3 members being veterans.

    Conclusions:
    1. The Confederate Monument Committee in no way justly and adequately represented the citizens of Denton County due to stacking of the deck by: Representation was over-represented for Over 35, males, whites, above the median income, property owners, above the median property value; straight, without a disability.

    2. Representation was excluded for those:
    under 35
    Asian American
    Multi-Ethnicity
    With information at hand, it appears those may have been excluded:
    with a disability,
    LGBTQIA,
    Below the median income
    Those who are at this time not a property owner

    3. Representation was under-represented for those who are: Females, Hispanics.
    With information at hand, it appears that those if either not excluded were therefore under-represented: under the median income, under the media property value, non-property owners at this time, those with a disability, the LGBTQIA community.

    4. Were our veterans justly represented? 1 veteran on the committee would have statistically represented our veteran population among our general population.
    Representation was over-represented per population statistics by 1 member for African Americans.
    Sources: American Community Survey using 2010 U.S. Census data for Denton County of 780,612 from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/denton-county-tx/
    ; Note: July 1, 2016 U.S. Census estimate is 806,180 from https://www.census.gov/…/…/table/dentoncountytexas/PST045216. However aggregate sub-data does not exist at this time for special population.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Meditating Dog
    Meditating Dog February 05, 10:21

    Let me get this straight–the process for possibly moving the monument has been completed, but the anti-monument folks are going to continue protesting because things didn’t go their way? Nice to see that butthurt is alive and well in Denton, TX

    Reply to this comment

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