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Group Asks for Relocation of Confederate Statue in Denton

A group of activists is asking Denton County leaders to consider relocating a Confederate monument.

The stone archway with a young soldier on top of it greets visitors on one side of Denton's Downtown Square as they head into the old county courthouse.

Inscribed with the words "Our Confederate Soldiers," the memorial that honors the fallen and their "heroic self-sacrifice" has sat there for nearly a century.

Every Tuesday for the last 17 years, Denton resident and local NAACP President Willie Hudspeth has walked right by it on his way into County Commissioners Court, where he asks commissioners to relocate it or install additional monuments near it that reflect that community's diversity.

"Right now, we don't talk about this — my race doesn't, other than negative things," said Hudspeth. "Let's put some other history on it. Let's add some history. This is just one area of our history."

He stuck to his routine this Tuesday, appearing before the commissioners once again — only this time, about 20 others joined him, wearing T-shirts that said "Love Not Hate Makes America Great."

Most of them spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, urging commissioners to put the item on a future agenda, which would then allow them to take official action on it.

"Put it on the agenda so we can have a dialogue about it, and we can maybe move forward," Hudspeth said.

Because there was no official item regarding the statue on Tuesday's agenda, commissioners were not allowed to discuss the matter or take any kind of vote on it. There was no indication whether they'd consider adding the matter to a future agenda.

Denton County Judge Mary Horn, who has stated publicly that she opposes moving the statue, reaffirmed her stance when she sat down with NBC 5 Tuesday.

"[The recent events in Charlottesville] don't make me rethink anything," Horn said. "A friend of mine recently made a statement, and I agree wholeheartedly: not all of history is pretty. But we need to remember it and we need to teach it."

Horn notes that the courthouse is a historic site that is also home to a history museum, which she feels is an ideal spot for such a monument.

"People who want the monument taken down say 'put it in a museum,'" said Horn. "Well, it's already at a museum."

In fact, many of the speakers Tuesday requested the statue be moved inside the museum.

Horn also points to a plaque which the county installed near the monument several years ago as a direct result of Hudspeth's efforts. It reads: "The Denton County Confederate Soldier Memorial was erected in 1918 by the Daughters of the Confederacy. 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. Now, let this be a testimony that God created all men equal with certain inalienable rights. We are all one, citizens of Denton County."

"We've tried to be as accommodating as possible to Mr. Hudspeth's wants and desires," Horn said.

Hudspeth says he's already considering a run for county judge if that's what it will take to move this matter forward.

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