Denton County removes Confederate memorial from Courthouse-on-the-Square

pieces of memorial on flatbed truck
A crew that specializes in removing public artwork disassembled the Denton County Confederate Memorial that had overlooked the Courthouse-on-the-Square since 1918. (Courtesy Denton County)

A crew that specializes in removing public artwork disassembled the Denton County Confederate Memorial that had overlooked the Courthouse-on-the-Square since 1918. (Courtesy Denton County)

Image description
The Confederate memorial outside the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square was erected in 1918 and taken down June 25, 2020. (Anna Herod/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Denton County Confederate Memorial that overlooked the Courthouse-on-the-Square for more than a century was removed June 25 amid calls for its relocation and concerns that it had become a prime target for desecration.

County officials confirmed the monument’s removal in a news release. With supervision from county personnel, a crew that specialized in the deconstruction of art pieces arrived on scene early in the morning and relocated the memorial to a Denton County storage facility.

The move came after a unanimous June 9 decision by the Denton County Commissioners Court to relocate the monument and present it in a historical context, per the Texas Historical Commission’s wishes.

“For over one hundred years, this memorial has stood next to the courthouse and meant many things to many different people,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said in the release. “To some, it is a linkage to our past heritage, and to others, it is a symbol of oppression. We have tried hard to thread the needle between these views: to honor sacrifice while respecting the sensibilities of people who have approached the Denton County Commissioners Court in good faith. We intend to continue to do so.”

The Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned and erected the Denton County memorial in 1918 to commemorate Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War, but the monument evolved throughout the years into a local flashpoint in conversations about race relations. A significant portion of the Confederate platform was the belief that states had the right to continue race-based slavery at their own discretion, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.


Local activists interpreted the county’s decision as a small victory in a larger battle to eliminate racism.

“I just didn’t know what to do,’” said Willie Hudspeth, a Denton-based contractor and a 21-year proponent of the monument’s removal from the courthouse area in Denton. “Now, [several] hours later, I’m thinking, ‘Yes. What are we going to do now?’ I’m just an activist of type person. What do we do now? I look at the climate we’re in now with Black Lives Matter and the COVID situation and say, ‘OK. What do I do now? I have a voice.’”

According to the release, Denton County will retain custody and ownership of the memorial. County commissioners unanimously approved three Texas Historical Commission Executive Committee provisions during an emergency meeting June 18.


Those provisions stated that the memorial will be relocated onto county property within one year, that the Texas Historical Commission will continue its protection and that the county and commission will discuss how to include a description of the history of slavery and the African American experience related to the legacy of the Civil War.

“What I want done with that statue, and what I’ll be talking about, is to find somewhere at the cemetery where the people are that they say they’re trying to honor," Hudspeth said. “They’re there. Their names are there. Their history is there. Put it there. I will be against taking any taxpayer money to restore it and put it somewhere else,” he said.


Questions and suggestions from constituents pertaining to the memorial can be submitted by email to the Denton County Art Committee at artcommittee@dentoncounty.com.

By


MOST RECENT

Dale Volley, owner of The Brass Tap, opened the Highland Village location with his wife, Anna, last Memorial Day. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Owners of The Brass Tap strive to create a ‘niche’ neighborhood hangout in Highland Village

Since opening on Memorial Day in 2019, The Brass Tap has created weekly events to keep that vibe alive, including trivia nights, music bingo and happy hours, among others.

Denton County COVID-19 cases by age and location

An increase in cases has also been evident in Denton County, where the largest number of daily cases since the virus was first recorded jumped from 54 from late March to 115 June 24.

(Tobi Carter/Community Impact Staff)
McKenzie Hembry neighborhood to see street improvement project this fall

The city of Lewisville is finishing design on a project to rebuild portions of McKenzie, Hembry, Red Bud and Mesquite streets.

(Tobi Carter/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sam Rayburn Tollway widening continues

The additional lanes along the 26-mile route are being added to the inside median to reduce disruption to existing traffic.

The First Street Foundation's dataset includes a forecast models that anticipate the effects of climate change and sea level rise. (Screenshot via First Street Foundation)
Analysis: FEMA may be undercounting national total flood risk by as much as 70%

The new dataset includes an interactive Flood Factor dashboard that anyone can use to assess the risk of flooding over a 30-year period for any address.

Mayor Rudy Durham initially declared a local state of disaster for the city of Lewisville on March 13. (Anna Herod/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lewisville to discuss continuation of disaster declaration

Lewisville City Council expects to discuss the continuation of its disaster declaration at its July 6 meeting.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott: Texans must wear masks in public starting July 3

"COVID-19 is not going away," Gov. Abbott said. "In fact, it is getting worse."

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
'Refinancing isn't free:' How to navigate refinancing a mortgage

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments.

Episcopal Health Foundation
Survey: Texans support emphasis on improving economy, safety, pollution to address overall health

“COVID-19 is clearly showing what Texans already know: the state needs to address underlying, non-medical conditions that have a dramatic impact on their health,” Episcopal Health Foundation President and CEO Elena Marks said.

The restaurant serves steak, seafood, smoked meats, sandwiches and salads with the “flavor ... of Texas.” (Courtesy 1845 Taste Texas)
1845 Taste Texas opens in Flower Mound

The restaurant serves steak, seafood, smoked meats, sandwiches and salads with the “flavor ... of Texas.”

In communities across the nation, Walmart Supercenter parking lots will be transformed into contact-free, drive-in movie theaters beginning in August. (Courtesy Walmart)
Walmart to bring drive-in movies to 160 stores nationwide in August, launch virtual summer camp

Families can also enjoy a virtual summer camp experience Walmart is launching July 8 with sessions led by celebrities, including Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris and LeBron James.

CoServ executives accepting award
CoServ annual meeting to be virtual this year

CoServ has announced its virtual meeting plans to replace a physical meeting that has drawn up to 3,000 customers in the past.