Valdosta protesters challenge Confederate memorial
June 12, 2020
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) — Valdosta residents say a Confederate monument outside the Historic Lowndes County Courthouse is unfair. They are asking county leaders to add a new monument, which would honor black history, on the lawn.
The current monument is located at the corner of North Patterson Street and Central Avenue, in the heart of the city and now at the center of controversy. The structure honors Confederate soldiers killed in the Civil War.
"One of the concerns that we have is this monument," protest organizer DJ Davis said.
While he and others from the community are not pushing for it to be removed, they are hoping something will be added to the lawn to balance out the historical narrative.
"Throughout history, only one side has been shown, and it's important to recognize that there are multiple stories," protester Kaitlyn Staten said.
The structure was erected in 1911 with these words still displayed today:
"The principles for which they fought live eternally."
Those are principles protesters and many others question.
Davis says he and his team are putting together a proposal to present to county leaders.
"We don't want to replace history, okay? It is history. We want it to stand. However, we need history of our own that is represented here in Lowndes County on the courthouse lawn, not anywhere else, but on the courthouse lawn," he said.
Back in May 2018, community members pushed for a lynching memorial to be added in the same lawn, but their request failed. As the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum, protesters are revisiting the issue.
"There's a lot more history to it, and there's a lot of history that's forgotten, and being able to show that part as well is crucially important for all of our residents," Staten said.
WCTV reached out to Lowndes County leaders for comment on this Friday. We were told they were not available.