In a Bulloch County Commission meeting, a Georgia Southern student and NAACP leader presented his petition to have the Confederate statue on the courthouse lawn removed. There was standing room only as a heated debate heard both sides of the issue, during the public comment period. The commission did not make a decision on whether or not to move the statue, but the Chairman did suggest forming a committee to follow the discussion and research what can be done regarding the statue.
“History is something that no man, no body, no governing body, no governing authority can take away or destroy,” James ‘Major’ Woodall said during public comment. “However, that same man, that same body and that same governing authority can remove it from a place where justice and liberty is an expected reality for every single individual in this community.”
Woodall is the Georgia Southern student and school’s NAACP leader who petitions to remove the Confederate statue from the courthouse grounds. He presented 771 signatures to the Bulloch County Commission.
“I became very passionate about the removal because people are obviously concerned, people were obviously offended,” he said.
The statue has been on courthouse grounds for 106 years. Some who spoke out in Tuesday’s meeting said it symbolizes hate and a painful history for many people. Others said their heritage and ancestors who were killed in war are represented by the statue that should not be removed.
“I see history, not racism, not division, I see history. The Taliban destroys history, we should not. Keep the monument where it is. It has not hurt anybody. It has not fired a shot at anybody,” said Michael Mull, with Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Woodall says the meeting is likely the first of several, but he hopes it is a step in what he considers the right direction.
“I hope to see them consider my recommendation of forming a collective body of students, citizens, leaders in this great community, so that we can all really engage in a dialogue and do research about what’s the feasibility of moving it, what’s the feasibility of replacing it, because we can’t just take one side and say it can’t be moved, or one side saying it can, we need an effective body to create change,” Woodall said.