Black History Month Begins With Decision to Keep the Confederate Monument

The Confederate Monument Advisory Committee made their decision early this morning regarding the fate of the Confederate Monument that presides over the Downtown Denton Square. The committee voted 12-3 to keep it in place but add a plaque with historical information.

The committee members include Mike Cochran, Donna Hernandez, Charlotte Cunningham, Willie Hudspeth, Judy Flowers, Mark Pullman, John Baines, Roni Caid, Paul Meltzer, Alfredo Sanchez, Howard Watt, Kay Copeland, Zenobia Hutton, Fred Rogers, and Tim Trylovich.

10-5 was the first pass "based on individual committee member presentations." Meltzer said. "The "move" vote--all city of Denton people I note--were me, John, Willie, Alfredo, and Howie."

Chairman Baines presented the arch solution and both he and Watt voted yes, creating the 12-3 final vote.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reports: "Committee chairman John Baines said the new plaque will sit under the monument's arch and denounce slavery. The committee agreed that the two kiosks, which will include audio and video monitors, will be placed on either side of the monument. They will show interviews with community members regarding racial progress and veterans in Denton County."

Last August, a group of Confederate supporters gathered, rallied, and were eventually shooed out of town by counter-protesters. 

President of the local NAACP chapter, Willie Hudspeth, has been protesting the removal of the monument for the last 18 years. The protests have gained momentum in the last year, attracting dozens of community members at a time. 

"My preference would have been for us to end up with something positive on the square that everyone can get behind," Meltzer said. "This outcome is certainly not my ideal, but it's not all bad. When a child of color asks why it's there, at least their parent will be able to say 'It's there to remind us that you have the same rights as anybody else, no matter what people used to think.'"

Though residents voiced their concern in a last ditch effort to sway committee members one way or the other last week, those that support the removal of the statue because of its racist symbolism were not able to bring enough votes to have it removed.

Header image by Mateo Aaron Granados
Header image design by Sara Button