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Marshall Against Violence President Demetria McFarland speaks to protesters gathered outside of the Harrison County Courthouse Friday, protesting racism.

President of Marshall Against Violence, Demetria McFarland, has begun a petition for the removal of the confederate statue that sits outside of the Harrison County Courthouse in downtown Marshall.

“The statue was erected to promote and justify Jim Crow laws in the South, and assert white supremacy. There is currently a camera mounted to the side of the courthouse, a public building, over looking the statue, so this statue still has some form of meaning, value and or belief to someone here in Marshall/Harrison County,” McFarland said. “The statue does not have any value to any African American/black people and it is a constant reminder of racism, hate and prejudices against black people.”

This petition came after McFarland’s recent trip to Minnesota to visit the home of George Floyd and attempt to meet with city officials about the events that have transpired since a startling video went viral, showcasing Floyd’s death at the hand’s of four police officers.

All four officers have since been arrested for their parts in the incident.

Two protests hosted in Marshall June 19 and June 20 also highlighted the confederate statue, with protesters calling the statue a “painful symbol” of Marshall’s history.

“In light of the murder of George Floyd, these confederate statues are being removed by local officials or forcefully torn down by protesters. I am asking for those who have the authority to remove it, to please do so,” McFarland said. “We, African Americans, have no desire to be reminded of the torture our ancestors were subject to over the centuries. We, African Americans, are not going backwards but we are moving forward for racial equality and justice. Our ancestors were a major part in the foundation of this nation. We will not continue to be treated like we are an inferior race and as if we are less than human.”

McFarland reached out to officials at Harrison County about the removal of the statue on June 13, and said she has yet to receive a response.

The statue stands on the East side of the Harrison County Courthouse in Marshall. The monument was erected in 1905 by the Marshall chapter number 412 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The monument was dedicated January 16, 1906 on Robert E. Lee’s birthday.

According to Texasconfederateveterans.com the statue was originally erected to honor Civil War soldiers. According to the city there are more than fifty Civil War statues and memorials located in Texas and hundreds throughout the South.

“I want to reiterate to those who are willing to embrace what the statue represents, this is a constant reminder of the torture our ancestors endured, dehumanizing, looked upon as an inferior race, and considered less than human. In light of the senseless, systemic racism and the murder of George Floyd, we need to look forward and move along with what the nation is doing now,” she said. “I feel the time is now for Marshall, Harrison County to move forward along with the nation to show that we stand for racial equality, instead of clinging to a statue that stands for racial division.

“I want to reiterate to those who are willing to embrace what the statue represents, this is a constant reminder of the torture our ancestors endured, dehumanizing, looked upon as an inferior race, and considered less than human. In light of the senseless, systemic racism and the murder of George Floyd, we need to look forward and move along with what the nation is doing now.”