CORDELE, Ga. (WALB) - On Tuesday night, Cordele commissioners made no action about the future of a Confederate monument and the potential building of other monuments nearby.
The Cordele City Council said it plans to discuss the topic more during next week’s commission meeting.
Recently, a petition with about 8,000 signatures landed on the commission’s desk. That’s just under Cordele’s population of 10,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest data.
The monument is centrally located in Cordele and sits on the Cordele Community Clubhouse’s property.
Commissioners said the Crisp County Confederate Monument was moved to its current location in the mid-1900s.
It’s currently located at the intersection of 16th Avenue and 7th Avenue. It was erected in 1911 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter 416, according to the Smithsonian Institute.
The main question on the commissioners’ minds is what, if any, financial involvement does the City of Cordele have with the statue.
Commissioner Wesley Rainey said the property was given to them by a trustee from an estate and no city tax dollars go into the property. He claimed they don’t own the Cordele Community Clubhouse or the stature.
“City taxpayers don’t pay anything. I would like for everybody to know that,” said Rainey.
Commissioner Royce Reeves Jr. believes the City of Cordele does maintain the property.
“I see a guy doing work down there. He pulls up in a city-owned truck, with the city emblem on it and he’s down there doing work,” said Reeves.
Rainey believes that’s a contract worker.
Commissioners do recognize it would be a cost to the city to remove the statue.
A white Cordele native told commissioners the statue should come down. Trent Karr is the man behind the petition to remove the monument.
Karr believes the monument is a constant reminder of slavery in the South. He said its purpose is to glorify treason against the United States.
“Its purpose is not to ‘remember’ history. That is what our history books are for. We don’t erect statues of our enemies to ‘remember’ history. We don’t erect Hitler statues to remember Nazi death camps,” Karr told the Cordele City Commission.
However, African-American Cordele resident Adrian Patrick wants the statue to stay, but he’s asking commissioners to grant an easement for the creation of an African Renaissance monument.
Patrick said we can’t change history but we can move forward and he wants the Confederate monument to stay.
“History writes itself, you cannot change history. He (Karr) talks about a statue hurting African-Americans, but it should be an African-American saying what would hurt African-Americans, not a white man,” said Patrick.
Patrick wants a new statue to be close or next to the Confederate monument. He said it would be paid for by private funds.
Commissioner Reeves said he is in favor of adding and not taking away.