The Texas Historical Commission has unanimously approved plans to relocate the Confederate soldier monument to the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, the county announced Thursday.
Denton County announced the plans in a Thursday afternoon news release, stating there will be a permanent exhibit in the museum featuring the statue of the soldier and two engraved tablets from the original monument. The installation will take place within the next six months, the release states.
“We are very fortunate that we have a professional staff that has an eye for the long-term preservation of our artifacts, this and many others,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads stated in the release. “We are in the business of historic preservation. Part of that is preserving our artifacts. And, I think the appropriate and timely actions taken by the THC in conjunction with the Commissioners Court preserved this artifact for future generations.”
The monument was removed in June 2020 after county commissioners approved a resolution to relocate it, and has been in climate-controlled storage since. It was a focal point in many protests, with some advocating for its removal for years.
The new exhibit will be surrounded on three sides by a 3D version of the Confederate monument where it was once located. It will also feature a narrative explaining the history of the monument and the history of slavery statewide and locally.
Reached Thursday afternoon, Eads said he believes the relocation decision was a responsible move by the county.
“The thing that I had in mind was stewardship,” Eads said. “This is county property, and we have to be good stewards of county property, which is a core function of county government. Future generations can either appreciate or learn from it — we believe that that is part of our role.”
As for those who have advocated against the monument, who often cite its connections to slavery and racial discrimination, Eads said he believes the statue can still offer value by creating dialogue.
“I’ve heard their point of view and I appreciate the perspective,” Eads said. “Museums around the world are filled with artifacts from throughout history that may reflect unpleasantness, activities and conduct of people in power that we would not be proud of. … We believe that this will continue a dialogue for our generation and future generations about being the best America we can be.”
Local activist Willie Hudspeth, who advocated against the statue for more than 20 years before it was ultimately removed in June, said Thursday that he doesn’t agree with the decision and will be showing up to the county’s weekly Commissioners Court meetings to address it.
“I don’t think that should happen at all,” Hudspeth said. “What about all the other issues that we have? I’ll be up there talking about that.”
Specifically, Hudspeth said he doesn’t believe the statue’s relocation is a beneficial use of taxpayer dollars. He added the confederate monument only refers to one part of America’s history, which also includes Black and Hispanic history.
“What I would like for them to do, and they have never done this, is meet with the people,” Hudspeth said. “Just meet with the citizens, talk about it, then come up with something we would all enjoy.”