LOUISVILLE, Ga. (WJBF) – There was a protest in Louisville, Georgia over the Old Market House – a historic site with a controversial past.
“Had them shackles on them like that.”
It’s been a year since since Louisville City Council members made a historic decision to remove the market house monument.
“We promised the city council and the mayor, Mr. Morgan was mayor then, that if he didn’t take down that slave market in due time, there would be a selected campaign cast upon the city of Louisville,” said James Ivery.
But that was just to have the monument moved to another part of the town, and since then, it still sits in the middle of downtown Louisville. James Ivery the leader of today’s protest, says it should just be torn down.
He says, “The United States made it illegal for them to sell black people in this country. Savannah shut down, they followed the law, but there was still ships coming in with black they had no where to take them, guess who took them Louisville and they started selling people illegally and they want this thing to stay here to keep black people under a dark cloud.”
The words tear it down, echoed throughout the streets of downtown Louisville. Protestors gathered around the market house kicking the bell, and even reenacting what they believed happened to slaves at this monument.
“Every time I walk by it, you know what I see? I see young mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and brothers, and sisters, and babies snatched away from each other,” said Ivery.
Some people living in Louisville believe the monument is a reminder of how things should NOT be.
“It’s history, we cannot change history, no matter how we try we cannot change history,” said Wes Going, a resident of Jefferson County.
“I hate what it stands for, but I don’t believe it’s part of the heritage, it shouldn’t be torn down, it shouldn’t be done away with. Moved to another site, maybe, restored something like that,” said Thad Rains another resident of Jefferson County.
But for other residents, it’s a monstrosity.
“I think it should be torn down, and put in a museum somewhere,” said Davis, a resident who did not want to give her first name.
Davis says as a child she was told not to play in that area.
“People may not think it has an effect on us mentally but it does. The slave market maybe symbolizing to us that we need to stay in our own place and you can see that it’s on this side of town. That side over there was the black side and this was the black side, so yes, it needs to be torn down,” she said.
Ivery says the monument is just a catalyst for other demands.
“We have other demands we’re putting together right now and that consist of the city and the county because we found a lot of negative stuff in the community that’s going on, so we’re going to address those issues period.”