GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - More people are speaking out about a proposal to move a Civil War monument from downtown Gadsden.
The Emma Sansom monument pays tribute to a teenaged farm girl who helped Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest stop Union General Abel Streight from capturing Rome, Georgia, by showing him a place on Black Creek where his men could cross.
Two men addressed the Gadsden city council Tuesday to speak out on keeping the monument at First and Broad instead of moving it to Forrest Cemetery, as two council members suggested last week.
“The main thing I see is that people should be able to vote, whether it needs to be torn down or left up. It shouldn’t be to the council, it shouldn’t be to the mayor, it shouldn’t be to the governor,” says Ellis Brock of Rainbow City.
“History is here for us to learn from, so we don’t repeat mistakes we made in the past,” said Frank Leatherwood, who lives on the Etowah County side of Boaz.
“We should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them,” said Deverick Williams, who broached the idea last week of moving the monument. “And so, believing in white supremacy on some level, and slavery, that was and is a mistake.”
“I also believe this nation may, to some degree, have a blind spot to the impact that these symbols have and the longstanding hatred that they represent,” Williams added.
Council member Johnny Cannon says he received a 650 name petition against taking it down.
Council member Jason Wilson, who joined Williams last week in calling for the monument to be moved and suggested it be moved to Forrest Cemetery--named after General Forrest, and both councilors would like to see that name changed too--says many of the names on the petition were simply a printout of comments on a Facebook post.
He also says he’s received death threats and family members have angrily lashed out at him over his position.