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Decatur City Commission to discuss petition to remove Confederate monument, rival petition starts

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Decatur City Commission to discuss petition to remove Confederate monument, rival petition starts

Decatur City Hall.
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Decatur City Hall.

The Decatur City Commission is set to discuss a petition to remove a Confederate monument on the Square that has received more than 2000 signatures.

The petition is on the agenda for the commission’s Aug. 21 meeting.

Recently a new petition has sprung up with the opposite purpose: keeping the monument in place. That petition has 419 signatures as of Sunday morning.

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The monument is located by the old DeKalb County courthouse and was constructed in 1908. It is widely seen as a symbol of the Jim Crow era south, a not-so subtle message to black residents who would question the status quo.

City leaders have said they are listening petitioners and talking about how to move forward on their request, and state Sen. Elena Parent said she would support a bill to change state law to allow communities to decide for themselves whether these monuments are appropriate. State law prohibits the removal of such monuments and the prospects for changing it in a Republican-controlled Legislature don’t seem likely. However, the state law says local governments can take  “appropriate measures for the preservation, protection, and interpretation of such monuments.”

The monument has been in the cross hairs since a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va that resulted in the deaths of three people.

On Saturday evening there was a community discussion held in front of the monument about its future.

The City Commission meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.

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