The discussion was triggered by current events that generated conversations about the culture, race and history in McKinney, including the statue of James W. Throckmorton at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, according to meeting documents. The statue was gifted to the city in 1911 by the Federated Women’s Clubs of McKinney, per meeting documents.
Throckmorton was a lawyer and politician and was buried at Pecan Grove Cemetery. He also served as a brigadier general for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, according to meeting documents.
A petition on Change.org has requested the removal of the statue and has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.
The city is now looking to create a cultural task force to review the Throckmorton statue and other items around McKinney, per meeting documents.
The goal of the task force would be to create a diverse group that represents the different races and ethnicities in the community, council said.
City staff presented council with a few options in moving forward with the discussion of what to do about this statue, including: Keep the statue in place and wait for the incoming cultural task force to review it and provide a recommendation; remove and store the statue until the task force reviews it and provides a recommendation; or deal with the statue separately outside the purview of the task force.
Mayor George Fuller said he believed it to be in the best interest of the city to put together a task force and have its members review the statue and decide whether it should be removed.
“With that committee, it’s more than deciding what we do; it’s helping both sides understand why we’re going do it, to where we get buy-in,” he said.
The council plans to bring a resolution for the formation of the task force to its July 21 meeting. More discussion on who will be on the task force will follow, the mayor said.