McKinney postpones Confederate statue decision for a second time

statue
McKinney City Council voted Feb. 2 to postpone any decision regarding the Throckmorton statue. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

McKinney City Council voted Feb. 2 to postpone any decision regarding the Throckmorton statue. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following months of research, a petition with over 1,900 signatures, three advisory board meetings and two City Council meeting discussions, McKinney’s City Council voted for a second time to postpone any decision concerning the Throckmorton statue.

The Feb. 2 vote pushes the decision until at least May.

James W. Throckmorton was a controversial yet notable person in North Texas history for his roles as a Confederate Army captain, one-year governor of Texas and slave owner. According to Guy Giersch, the city’s long-time historic preservation officer who is retiring, Throckmorton’s contributions helped pave the way for McKinney’s current economic prosperity.

The Throckmorton statue is located downtown in front of the McKinney Performing Arts Center, which served as the Collin County courthouse until 1979. Last summer, the city began researching the historical context, appropriateness and relevance of the statue in McKinney’s downtown after a number of residents asked for the statue's removal.

The ad hoc advisory board—comprised of community members, not city staff—was put together to oversee the research. The board met three times in August and September to discuss the research and what the statue might symbolize for different McKinney residents.



A survey was sent out to the community to receive feedback on what should be done with the statue. Options included leaving the statue in place, adding additional signage, adding additional statues of other important figures, removing and placing it in storage, removing and installing somewhere else, and removing and selling the statue—potentially to a museum.

The public input survey, which was conducted from Sept. 10-27, garnered 2,094 total responses. Of this, 1,781 respondents said they resided in a McKinney ZIP code.

The majority of McKinney residents who responded to the survey were in favor of leaving the statue in place, city staff said. Similarly, the majority of nonresidents who responded to the survey were also in favor of leaving the statue in place.

But some community members and leaders are fervently opposed to keeping it, arguing that it is a “physical reminder every day” of a time when Black residents of McKinney were not equal to their white counterparts.

Chris Thornton, who was appointed to McKinney City Council in December but was unable to serve because his residence is 10 feet outside the city’s District 1, said the statue has its finger pointing toward the east side of McKinney, which has historically been lower income and populated by more Black and Latino residents than the other side of Highway 5.

“I'm reminded of all ... the racial epithets that [were] hurled at us as children ... [in] the movie theater, reminding us that once [the movie] was over, we need to return back to where we belong,” Thornton said.

“And so I think it's time now, it's time for it [the statue] to go.”

The council did not reach a decision concerning the statue at its October meeting. Nor did council members reach consensus on how to move forward at their Feb. 2 meeting.

Four council members—Frederick Frazier, Rainey Rogers, Rick Franklin and Charlie Philips—voted to postpone a decision on how to proceed. The other three council members, Angela Richardson-Woods, Scott Elliott and Mayor George Fuller, voted against tabling the decision.

“How many more meetings do we have to have?” asked Richardson-Woods. “I don't know how much more information we need to have to make a decision. So, I don't agree with kicking it down the road.”

Frazier said it’s been difficult, after listening to both sides, to reach a decision.

“If we take a few more months, or however long we take to get to the end of that road, that's not going to make a big difference,” Frazier said. “But we can get to the end of the road together. And that's the thing that's going to make the difference.”

By Francesca D' Annunzio
Francesca D'Annunzio covers K-12 and higher education, development, planning and zoning, and transportation in Frisco and McKinney. She attended college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she reported for the Daily Texan and interned for the Austin Chronicle. When she's not reporting, she enjoys spending time outdoors and experimenting in the kitchen.


MOST RECENT

From left: Kathy Pollard and Michelle Morrical are the owners of Mitzi’s Sonoma. (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
Yearslong friendship leads to fine wine, gift shop at Mitzi's Sonoma in McKinney

The business tucked just off the McKinney Square is designed to feature a homey, folksy atmosphere, where guests can stroll through, peruse and enjoy conversation with the two owners.

McKinney Mayor George Fuller has been re-elected for another term. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local election results, a trash pickup rate increase in McKinney and more top news from the Dallas-Forth Worth area

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Cinemark Movies 14 at 1701 S. Central Expressway, McKinney, temporarily closed in January. (Courtesy Cinemark)
Cinemark Movies 14 in McKinney sets reopening date

Tickets are on sale now on the theater’s page on the website as well as the Cinemark mobile app.

Walk-On's is opening in McKinney in 2022. (Courtesy Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux & Bar)
Co-owner Dak Prescott to launch eatery in McKinney; Goody Goody Liquor coming to Keller and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Walk-On's is opening in McKinney in 2022. (Courtesy Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux & Bar)
Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux to open in McKinney with Dak Prescott as co-owner

Walk-Ons serves dishes made from scratch and fresh ingredients.

District 121 will break ground in May in McKinney. (Rendering courtesy Craig International)
Craig International unveils master plan for District 121 mixed-use development in McKinney

The $250 million project will span over 17.85 acres adjacent to Craig Ranch and will be anchored by the new Kaizen Development eight-story office tower.

Medical City McKinney marked its 100th anniversary in April. (Courtesy Medical City McKinney)
Medical City McKinney marks 100 years

The facility was originally built for $100,000, and has since expanded and changed names several times.

Crumbl Cookies offers over 120 rotating cookie flavors. (Courtesy Crumbl Cookies)
Crumbl Cookies to open in Plano; McKinney trash pickup rates to rise and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news form the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Yvonne's LaBelle Skin Spa has relocated to Wadill Street in McKinney. (Courtesy Yvonne's Labelle Skin Spa)
Yvonne's LaBelle Skin Spa relocates in McKinney

Yvonne Evans, a state-licensed master aesthetician, offers preventative and anti-aging services by appointment that aid individuals with rosacea, environmentally-damaged skin, acne and more.

McKinney City Council approved a rate increase for trash pickup services May 4. (Courtesy city of McKinney
Rates to increase for trash pickup in McKinney

This is the first increase residents will experience for trash pickup since 2006.

In Bloom Flowers offered bouquets for a variety of events. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
In Bloom Flowers permanently closes McKinney location, moves online

The shop had been in McKinney for more than 30 years.