Late last month, Douglas County Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones received a letter from the Georgia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy asking the county to remove a Confederate monument from the courthouse grounds.
Citing a fear it could be vandalized, the Daughters of the Confederacy requested it be placed in the county’s Museum of History and Art, which is housed at the old courthouse.
The BOC voted 4-0 Tuesday to move the monument — located in front of the courthouse at the corner of Hospital Drive and Dorris Road — to the museum.
The BOC’s four Democrats all voted for moving the monument. The only Republican on the commission, Ann Jones Guider, wasn’t present because of a family emergency.
There was no discussion from the commissioners during the virtual meeting, which included two citizens’ comments.
The county museum is located in the old courthouse building, which is where the Confederate monument was first erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy.
The local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy paid for the statue to be erected in 1914 and retains ownership of it, according to the resolution the BOC passed Tuesday. The statue was moved to the current courthouse when it opened in 1998.
The county will foot the bill for moving the statue. No time frame was given on when that will happen.
“(Tuesday’s) resolution regarding the relocation of the Confederate monument to the old courthouse museum was a historical unifying pivotal occasion conducted in a decent and respectful manner,” Jones said in a statement released by the county. “Certainly, the outcry of many Douglas County citizens and the aforementioned resolution adopted by the Executive Committee of Georgia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy yields an unequivocal confirmatory consensus for the Confederate monument to be placed in the old courthouse museum.”
In the letter to the BOC dated July 20, the Daughters of the Confederacy wrote, “The executive committee further recognizes that over time and in some communities of the State of Georgia, Confederate monuments and markers have become objects of controversy and societal division.”
Douglas County historian and Sentinel columnist Lisa Cooper said the soldier depicted is anonymous and not based on any one soldier who was from old Campbell County.
Douglas County did not exist during the Civil War and was not formed until 1870 from the northern section of old Campbell County and eventually parts of Carroll and Paulding counties, according to Cooper.
Early last month, Triana Arnold James, the president of Georgia National Organization for Women, held a press conference in front of the statue asking for its removal. James followed the press conference with a letter to Jones.
“I am glad that the Board of Commissioners voted to remove this monument from the lawn of the courthouse,” James said. “I believe it is imperative that the BOC acknowledge the people’s agenda in our quest to be heard. The people of Douglas County spoke. We refuse to become complacent and comfortable with the winds of the past. We can continue to build a county that speaks to our diversity.”
Guider said in a phone call with the Sentinel after the meeting Tuesday she would have voted against the removal of the monument, and would like to have seen other measures taken that would have been “less divisive.”
“I recognize that some people are against it but it is a historical and educational part of our history,” Guider said. “Over time, I think we could have done something different. I respect the desire of the Daughters of the Confederacy to have it moved.”
Douglas County joins several metro counties that have removed Confederate monuments, statues and markers from prominent displays.
In June, a judge ordered a statue be removed in Decatur to keep it from being vandalized.
Last week, Henry County removed a Confederate statue after the commission voted 4-1.
In early July, a Confederate monument that stood for 107 years in Conyers was removed. Rockdale County officials are talking about relocating the statue to the old cemetery in that county east of Atlanta where there are Confederate graves.