Group Targets North Texas Confederate Monuments for Removal

One Denton resident has tried to persuade the city to remove a statue for nearly 20 years

A New York-based project targeting southern Confederate statues for removal has its sights set on two such monuments in North Texas.

The Make It Right Project list includes the Confederate memorials in downtown Dallas -- and in Denton. According to the group's website, the project is committed to "Taking down Confederate monuments and addressing American historical truths."

Willie Hudspeth, a longtime Denton resident who has asked the county to remove the statue for close to 20 years, said he was contacted by the project after organizers heard about his efforts.

"It was something that really meant a lot to me to say to my ancestors and the kids coming up, 'Hey, this is what happened,'" Hudspeth said. "Don't let his happen again."

Hudspeth's fight to have the Confederate statue removed was mostly met with resistance. But earlier this year, Denton County commissioners compromised -- voting to keep the statue, but adding historical context -- a display denouncing slavery and telling stories of racial struggles in Denton's past. To date, that hasn't happened. County officials said they're in the process of figuring out how much any changes would cost.

Compelled by Hudspeth's tenacity, project organizer Kali Holloway reached out to him. Upon hearing his story of attending nearly every commissioner's court meeting for two decades, the Denton monument was added to the list of 10 Confederate monuments the groups feels should be removed.

Will it change anything?

"If we bring enough pressure, yes," Hudspeth said. "Because here's what we're saying. Move it to the historical park. I'm not saying destroy it or tear it down. Move it to the historical park."

Holloway said the statue's inclusion on the list doesn't necessarily mean protesters coming in from out of town. Instead, she said, the group supports local activists -- and shines a light on their efforts.

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