Residents ask for confederate statue in Bell County to be relocated

Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 12:53:42-04

Confederate monuments and what they represent has become a polarizing issue in the country, following the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Now a monument in central Texas has become the focus of controversy as well.

The Confederate statue has stood outside of the old courthouse in Belton for more than a century. The NAACP President of Temple Benny Walsh said now some people are hoping to change that. 

"We say it's a part of history but bad it's bad history for African Americans because it was so much hatred behind the Confederate statues," Walsh said. 

Residents in the community expressed their concerns to Walsh saying they understand the history behind the monument - which is why they're asking for it to be relocated somewhere out of the public eye.

"We don't want to lose their history, but we don't want that hatred and to have to look at it every day when we drive by there," Walsh said. 

Others residents in the area, like John C. Perry, said tearing it down isn't the answer because the statue symbolizes his history.

"The Confederacy to me does not represent slavery, it does not represent an extreme position, it represents people going to war to try to defend their homes and defend their families," Perry said. 
Roscoe Harrison Jr. is the Senior Pastor of Eighth Street Baptist Church in Temple and he's indifferent about the statue's presence, but he said he doesn't want to see people use it as a way to promote negativity throughout the community. 
"I don't see anything really wrong with memorializing Confederate soldiers or the Confederacy because Texas was under the Confederacy. When it's used for bigotry and hate that's what bothers me," Harrison said.

Opinions throughout the community were on opposite ends of the spectrum, but everyone is hoping for the best outcome. 

"I hope that the monument will not be taken down particularly the one in Bell County because it represents the men of Bell County who went to war," Perry said. 

Currently, the Bell County Commissioners said they have no plans to remove the statue. However, they do plan to host a forum to hear what the community has to say.

"We're trying to change our way of thinking - change our way of acting towards one another - we want everybody to care for each other and love each other," Walsh said. 

Bell County officials have not set a date for that community forum yet, but we will update you as we learn more. 

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