HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – “Nowhere in any country, in any period can you take and say here are men and women who have trained together and for whatever reason somebody decides they’re going to go over to the other side and fight against Americans and kill Americans and then want to come back and place a statue honoring that person on public courthouse land after they have caused American deaths, I don’t get it,” Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey said.
Commissioner Mackey has proposed a resolution that seeks to get the ball rolling on removing the bust of Confederate General A.P. Stewart.
The bust has long sat in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse.
Commissioner Mackey said that the proposal came about after hearing from constitutions and from a UTC professor.
“She said she had 1,200 signatures of people who wanted to remove the statue from the courthouse grounds,” he said.
“And, by the way it was about two Wednesdays ago at our meeting, that group, they had organized and they chimed in, in our county commission meeting and there were 10 of them who spoke in support of ridding the Hamilton County’s Courthouse of that statue and because many of them are in my district, of course I’m going to fight and represent the people in my district. So, I brought the resolution.”
The proposed resolution drew debate in the Hamilton County Commission meeting Wednesday.
“I think it’s unfair to look at how people lived 2 or 300 years ago and judge them through the way that we live today,” Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Martin said.
Instead of removing it, Commissioner Martin proposes putting a plaque next to the bust.
“To give context to his life and the reason he was chosen over 100 years ago, because of the work that he did in preserving the Chickamauga National Battlefield,” he said.
If the resolution passes, the commission will take action to get approval for its removal from the Tennessee Historical Commission.
Hamilton County Commissioners plan to take up the proposed resolution for a vote next week.