CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginians Against Confederate Commemoration held a mock trial at the base of the Stonewall Jackson statue at the state capitol Saturday for the former Confederate general and Clarksburg native.
The group wants the statue taken down and they say they won’t stop until it is.
After remarks were said at the base of the statue which has been on Capitol grounds for 100 years, the group walked to the Governor’s Mansion next door, where they threw an envelope through through the gates that contained 7900 signatures for its removal.
They’re hoping Gov. Justice sees it.
“It’s enough people to let the Governor know there’s a significant amount of people who would like the statue merely taken off the pedestal and moved into that museum,” said James Cochran, the rally organizer.
The rally saw more than 50 people come out.
Cochran says the Governor or the Capitol Building Commission has the authority to remove it and put it in the state museum.
“Nobody’s talking about smashing it to pieces or melting it down or erasing history, we just want it in the museum where it’s not given this huge pedestal and place of honor.”James Cochran
Supporters of removing the statue from capitol grounds say although the fight goes years back, they want to keep the momentum going in light of the recent name change by the Kanawha County School Board of Stonewall Jackson Middle School to West Side Middle School.
“How many statues are needed anyway of one confederate soldier who lost?” said West Side Middle School student Camdyn Harris, who was among the speakers.
In past demonstrations, some have shown up arguing the statue should stay.
During a June demonstration, a man showed up carrying a Confederate flag who said monuments represent past sacrifices of both the north and the south.
Charleston resident Mavery Davis says the statue represents something very real to this day.
Mavery says he doesn’t like crossing through that side of the Capitol as an African American.
“You know we don’t idolize and commemorate terrorists, so for African American people, the Confederacy represents terrorism.”Mavery Davis
“Even after slavery, people who would be Confederate soldiers turned into klansmen, they were eventually the people who upheld Jim Crow and all of that stuff,” he said.
The group says they will be meeting again in early October for the next Capitol Grounds Commission meeting, at which point they say they’d like to hold a celebration of the removal of the statue, if it’s not removed by then, they’ll continue protesting.
(This story was originally published on Aug. 15, 2020)
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