Residents discuss Texoma Confederate statues as national conversations of removal grow

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX KJTL) — Since 1934, the United Daughters of the Confederacy monument have stood at Memorial Auditorium in Wichita Falls, and in Vernon, a similar memorial to Confederate soldiers has been on the courthouse square since 1916. Now that many cities are taking down their Confederate statues some Texomans voice their thoughts.

“People in North Texas and this area are aware of their history,” Wichita County Treasurer Bob Hampton said. “This does not represent any kind of racial overtones.”

But some disagree.

“It’s a memorial to honor confederate soldiers who fought to preserve slavery,” Wichita Falls resident Shawn Hunter said. “I don’t believe in erasing history. That’s not what we’re going to do. On Indiana Street is North Texas Museum, we take it out and put it there a couple of blocks over.”

Local historian Julie Coley said the time has changed the way Confederate soldiers are viewed, as opposed to the early 1900s.

“I found an old newspaper article from the 1920s where the city of Wichita Falls was celebrating their Confederate soldiers,” Coley said. “In the old days, they used to celebrate them, and that’s what makes me so sad.”

One local community activist said just removing monuments will not remove the problem and bring about change because “it’s going to take people to come together.”

“The statues that are up around the nation, and the one here in town are a symbolism of Confederacy, and to some, that’s a sense of pride,” community activist Crystal Washington-Pope said.

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