In an effort to have a more diverse group, Denton County Commissioners appointed five women to the Confederate Soldier Memorial Advisory Committee.
Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell appointed Donna Hernandez, an attorney from Flower Mound. Mitchell previously appointed the first female – Ronni Cade, former Lewisville City Councilwoman. Aubrey resident Charlotte Mooneyham and Denton residents Kay Copeland, Zenobia Hutton and Judy Flowers were also appointed during Tuesday’s commissioner’s court meeting. Flowers is a member of the Denton chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, which erected the statue in 1918.
John Baines, chairman of the Confederate Soldier Memorial Advisory Committee, also gave an update on the recent committee meeting. He said they will present a recommendation to the court by the end of January.
“We know that one size will not fit all, so we’re looking for consensus rather than an absolute recommendation,” Baines said.
Baines said the committee looked into three available options: leave the monument alone, move it or leave it with an explanation of the educational context. He said the committee agreed that to do nothing is not an option. He said most efforts will be on either moving it or keeping it with “lots of education.”
However, not all committee members seemed to be pleased with that vote. Willie Hudspeth, Denton resident and committee member, said he was disappointed in the vote. He questioned what “lots of education” really meant.
“The wording put on that is very creative,” Hudspeth said. “It protects the people who are trying to keep things the way they were but appear to be making changes.”
Hudspeth questioned commissioners about what educational material and wording would be put with the statue – if that is the ultimate decision. Commissioners said it is up to the committee members to determine any educational wording.
Baines said committee members agreed that their recommendation would not be restrained by cost. He said they do not expect the county to use money out of the general fund. He said they anticipate that fundraising efforts will be warranted.
The committee also discussed making public statements to media and chose to retain the right for some self-expression.
During the next few meetings, members will hear from experts about the history and facts surrounding the monument.
“We will eventually have an opportunity for public comment, and we’re also looking for a way to do a survey for people who don’t attend meetings,” Baines said. “We have history so we don’t repeat history. Whatever the outcome is we want to educate, and we also inspire.”
The next committee meeting will be at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Courthouse on the Square in the 1896 Room. The public is allowed to observe the meetings without comment.