PARIS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Tempers flared in Paris on Friday morning over the possibility of moving a Confederate monument that has been in place for more than a century. The monument rests on Lamar County Courthouse grounds, and it is made up of four Confederate leaders and one Confederate soldier.
Judge Maurice Superville Jr. stated that the monument has been causing unnecessary pain. "It does speak to a very important piece of our history," he said, "but I am finding it to be so offensive, and that others find it so offensive, that it is damaging the fabric of our community."
The monument features the faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Albert Sidney Johnston, all topped by a statue of a Confederate soldier. A sign underneath the monument reads "Our Heroes." It has been in the same location in Lamar County since 1903.
Black community leaders feel that the monument is hurtful and outdated. Nobody pushed for the monument to be destroyed, but officials have urged that it be relocated. "If you go in that courtroom, you're going to see a pile of white people saying that's their heritage," said Paris resident Brenda Cherry. "Well, it's a heritage of hate. Is that what you want to hold onto?"
Several dozen people packed a special meeting to learn about the monument's fate. Most of those people were angry about the possibility of the monument being moved. Some of them even held signs and flags outside of the building, adamant in stating that history matters.
"I think it's a movement across America to take away our rights and our history," Paris resident Shirley Holladay said Friday morning. "I don't like it. I have to stand for something. I'm going to stand for our rights, our American rights. What's next, the American flag?"
As it turns out, the Texas Historical Commission requires a permit to move the Confederate monument. The judge took a vote on getting that permit on Friday morning, and the result was a 2-2 tie. The motion failed. That means, for now, the monument will stay.
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