Haywood High School senior starts petition to remove confederate statue from county-owned property

Student leading petition to move confederate statue

HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - A Haywood High School student is circulating a petition that now has more than 1,000 signatures to remove a statue of a confederate soldier from property owned by the county.

The Haywood County mayor says he wants to know what citizens think.

”If you are on the right side of history, this is not what we need to be doing,” said Trey Cunningham. “That statue does not need to be there.”

The high school senior is talking about the statue of a confederate soldier right in front of the county courthouse.

Cunningham said he decided the statue must go when the county mayor had the statue cleaned a week ago. Cunningham considered it insensitive considering the racial issues that have been spotlighted.

”We thought that was extremely inappropriate. That’s what sparked it.”

Haywood County Mayor David Livingston told WMC Action News 5 he had the statue cleaned after the head of his janitorial department said it looked like it had black paint thrown on it.

The mayor says the statue was erected in 1908s by the daughters of the confederacy. It honors the men who fought for the confederacy and the women affected by the war.

Interestingly, the cannon in front of the statue is a Union cannon. No one seems to know why.

Haywood County with a population of about 17,000 people is predominately Black.

Tennessee State Student Skye Green would like to see the statue go because it is divisive.

”We want to make sure our community is united not divided,” said Green.

Cunningham and Green don’t want the statue destroyed, they want it moved.

Livingston says the county commission would have to approve the removal of the statue.

”In a county courthouse where people pay their taxes, they should have the right to have it removed if they don’t want it there,” said Livingston.

Livingston says he will talk with citizens to see how they feel about removing the statues. He said he plans to have five meetings where citizens can say how they feel about the statue.

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