Caddo commissioners vote to remove Confederate monument

Published: Oct. 19, 2017 at 8:40 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2017 at 12:11 AM CDT
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(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA News 12)

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Caddo commissioners voted Thursday afternoon to pass the resolution to remove the Confederate monument outside the Caddo Courthouse.

The vote passed was 7-5 to remove the monument.

Shortly before that decision, Caddo commissioners voted against letting the public vote on the fate of the Confederate monument. The substitute motion failed in a 5-7 vote.

After the meeting Commissioner Mario Chavez explained why he had called for a special election instead.

"Something of this magnitude, for the entire parish, allow them to have a voice," explained Chavez.

There were strong feelings on both sides of the issue with public comments taking almost two hours.

"By removing the monument you're removing a headstone and the monument that was erected for those soldiers who perished and died," insisted monument supporter Rex Dukes.

Dukes then added, "Over 300 of my people, of my ancestors fought in the Confederate War; probably more than anybody else in this room. The monument needs to stay where it is."

But Shreveport NAACP President Lloyd Thompson countered, "Now is the time to remove the monument. Commissioners search your heart."

The Caddo Commission listened for nearly two hours on whether to keep of remove the Confederate monument, that's stood outside the north side the courthouse for the last 111 years.

Others fear the removal of this Confederate monument chips away or even begins to erase their heritage.

"Over 300 of my people, of my ancestors fought in the Confederate War; probably more than anybody else in this room. The monument needs to stay where it is," added Rex Dukes.

One of the defining moments of this Caddo Commission meeting came when President Steven Jackson asked those who support the monument's removal to stand, prompting at least 80 percent of the audience to rise to their feet.

Some later explained what message they wanted to deliver during the meeting.

"There should be no type of monument in front of any courthouse anywhere in the world, let alone in Shreveport, Louisiana," said V.O.T.E. Shreveport Director.

But, in a chilling reminder of the high stakes and strong emotions at the heart of this Confederate monument, came a word of caution, from Dukes, about trying to force unity onto others.

"It is not going to bring in unity whatsoever. This will further divide this country to the point to where you could end up in another civil war." concluded Dukes.

But don't expect this monument to go anywhere for a while. That's largely because of expected lawsuits to fight its removal.

Some analysts expect that legal process to take about two years to make it through the courts.

Then there's the issue of where to take it and how much moving it will cost.

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