UPDATE: Commissioners vote to leave Confederate monument in plac - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Commissioners vote to leave Confederate monument in place at courthouse

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

 UPDATE: The statue of a confederate general in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse is not moving.

Hamilton County commissioners voted Wednesday morning to leave the statue of Confederate Army Lt General Alexander Peter Stewart on the courthouse lawn.  

"The symbolism of the statue is not one, in our view, of bringing people together," said Yusuf Hakeem, a board member for the local NAACP.

Some people said walking past the statue into the courthouse is a reminder of a dark time in history.

"It has a subliminal suggestion as to some people being superior and some people being inferior," said Hakeem.

Others argued it stands as an important piece of history. 

"We should be proud of our history as a unifying group that's moving forward doing good things," said Chris Dooly speaking at the meeting.

"Even though he was an anti-secessionist, his loyalty was to his state, the state of Tennessee," said Commissioner Fields.

Last week, Commissioner Greg Beck proposed a resolution to relocate the statue. He said the courthouse lawn is not a place to memorialize anyone. Wednesday, a handful of people spoke out at the meeting to support the resolution.

"I think it's a giant middle finger to everybody who believes in equality," said Chuck Hamilton, who supported the resolution at the commission meeting. 

Commissioner Beck was clearly disappointed when the first vote was in favor of leaving the statue in place, letting out a loud, "Wow."

Only two commissioners voted to move the statue, commissioners Beck and Mackey. (Commissioner Sabrena Smedley was absent due to medical reasons.) Some people said the vote was disappointing, but not surprising.

"The reality is this was only the first step," said Hakeem.

Local NAACP members said they are not done in their fight to remove this statue. They told Channel 3 they are looking to see if there are any legal actions they can take.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS STORY: Hamilton County Commissioners voted Wednesday morning to leave the statue of Confederate Army Lt General Alexander Peter Stewart in place on the front lawn of the Hamilton County courthouse.

 Before the vote, commissioners heard public statements about the statute.


PREVIOUS STORY: Commissioner Greg Beck proposed a resolution to move the statue of Confederate Army Lt General Alexander Peter Stewart from the Hamilton County courthouse lawn.

It's not the first time there has been a discussion about the statue. In July, the NAACP called for the removal of this monument. 

READ MORE | Battle over Confederate statue at the Hamilton Co. Courthouse underway

Wednesday, commissioners discussed what they believe should happen.

“I believe it's time to take care of a situation that could be very divisive to the citizens of our county," said Commissioner Beck.

Below the flag, and several yards back, the statue stands just feet in front of the steps to the Hamilton County courthouse.

"We should have a more appropriate place for a confederate statue," Beck urged.

While standing still, the monument is causing some commotion.

"Statues say a lot,” Beck said, “They continue to tell a story."

A story Beck doesn't think is appropriate at the courthouse. So, he proposed a resolution Wednesday asking to relocate the monument. He said the courthouse lawn is no place for it.

“This should be neutral ground. This shouldn't be a place that memorializes anybody," Beck urged.

While some commissioners offered support, others disagreed. Some said it's history that needs to be talked about.

"I think the bottom line is this,” Commissioner Greg Martin said during the meeting, “I think from a historical point of view we do an injustice when we judge people’s lives in the 21st century, when we judge the 18th and 19th century mindset, through a 21st century lens."

Another commissioner supported the removal of the monument, but doesn't believe another should take its place. Another point, not everyone could agree on.

"I’m afraid that we're letting our emotions react to what's going on in America around us," said Commissioner Joe Graham.

But for now, the green bust and gray stone will stand right where they are.

The vote on the proposal is next week. However, one commissioner said a week is not enough time. He suggested making a committee and discussing the issue further.

Stay with Channel 3 as this story develops.

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