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Heated arguments at protest over Durant Confederate statue

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:44 PM CDT
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - A Durant protest Wednesday morning sparks heated arguments between opposing groups. How county officials responded.

“It’s 2020 why would you want a racist statue in a town where you grew up and you live, like you wanna be able to walk down the street and not see this statue,” said one organizer, Skylar Fletcher.

Fletcher and Krystin Wahl created petitions to have the statue relocated.

“We do not want to take the statue down, we just want to move it from one place to across the street to the Three Valley Museum,” said Fletcher.

They got over 2,000 signatures so they took it to county officials, but were met with opposition.

“This is a veterans memorial, it is not any certain party or any certain place. I am an American, not a Republican or a Democrat, but I am a veteran,” said Junior Doughty.

Doughty says the decision should be made by the law, not by groups of people.

“It’s not black, it’s not white, it’s not race at any point. But something that happened 300 years ago is what they’re tearing down,” said Doughty.

Rebekah Bowling says they didn’t expect the statue to come down Wednesday, but to take the issue to county officials to be handled peacefully.

“At a courthouse in a place of glorification, I don’t think it has a place. You know contact some other museums in the area, see if it can be in a place of learning as opposed to on a pedestal of honor. From my perspective I’m not understanding why it’s such a huge deal, why people claim this to be their heritage. The confederacy lasted 5 years,” said Bowling.

The statue was placed in front of the courthouse in 1917 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was dedicated to all confederate soldiers; the only one of its kind in Oklahoma.

County commissioners tabled a vote on whether to take down the monument until November, but Commissioner Ron Boyer says he wants Bryan County voters to decide its fate.

“I believe personally where we are right now, this statue, the courthouse belongs to the people and I personally would like to take it to a vote of the people. Coming this November give the people of the county a chance to vote, that way we know we have only the citizens within the county voting for right or wrong,” said Boyer.

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