Civil War Monument Could Spark Political Battle


A tribute to history for some can be a bitter reminder of pain for others. An
Appling County group that honors their civil war ancestors wants to put a monument
in the middle of town.

Check out courthouse squares around the South and you’ll probably see a similar
theme of monuments; a lone confederate soldier facing his homeland. A proposed
monument in Baxley has some ready for a political battle. Leaders of the local
NAACP chapter say the idea caught them by surprise.

"A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a concerned citizen that this
was taking place," explained NAACP chapter president Gerry Moore.

Moore and others confronted county commissioners Tuesday night. In 2001, previous
commissioners tentatively approved space on the square for a privately funded
statue paid for by the local Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Appling Grays.
Moore says the symbolic statue would offend African Americans.

"I’d feel awkward with a confederate statue on the courthouse lawn. A
courthouse is designed for justice and for peace," he noted.

Local NAACP leaders say they’re not completely opposed to the statue. But they
say it belongs at a museum like the Appling County Heritage Center just a block
from the courthouse.

"History has its place. We should never forget where we come from. But
that’s not the place for it, not where people see it out front when they ride
through our community," stated chapter vice president Larry NeSmith.

Both men say their group’s state and national leaders will watch closely to
see if commissioners allow the statue or send it somewhere else.

WTOC tried to reach leaders of the Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter that
planned the monument and did not hear back from them. Moore says his group will
be at the next Appling County commissioners meeting in two weeks to see what,
if any action, they take.

Reported by Dal Cannady,

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