While the initial motion made by Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles was to name the members of the committee in September, ultimately the court voted to postpone the creation and naming of the members of the committee to December with a possible recommendation by that committee to be given to the court at the end of March.
“My intent is not to discuss if the statue is appropriate—the statue is appropriate; its’ part of our history, and that is not changing,” Boles said. “What I would like committee to look at is if the courthouse is the appropriate location for the statue.”
The statue—which is of no one in particular—sits on the south side of the courthouse and was installed in 1916 by United Daughters of the Confederacy. Over the summer, its location has brought controversy with those in favor of its relocation saying it is a symbol of hate and racism and memorializes the Lost Cause, which posits the loss of the Confederacy as a tragedy.
The recent call for its relocation was spurred by the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died while in police custody in May, as well as the death of Williamson County local Javier Ambler in 2019, which highlights institutionalized racism within the country.
Instead, they believe it should be moved to Odd Fellows Cemetery in Georgetown where over 100 Confederate soldiers are buried.
Those who wish to keep the statue where it is currently located believe its removal or relocation is an erasure of history.
The commissioners will each select three people to be on the committee. Court members said they are looking for individuals who understand the history and can be level-headed in discussing a complex issue.
“We know what [the citizens of] 1916 thought. I want to know what the citizens of 2020 think,” Boles said.
During the meeting, eight individuals spoke on the topic during public comment. Of those, five were in favor of the committee, and three were opposed.
The establishment of the committee does not mean the statue will be relocated. Instead, it is a search for the appropriateness of its location with historical reason and purpose, commissioners said.