A protest was organized Saturday, Aug. 29 by Parker County Progressives at the Parker County courthouse as a continuation of their efforts to have the Confederate monument removed from the front of the courthouse. Counter-protesters lined the streets to show their support for the monument.
The monument is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). Protesters requested that the statue be removed and placed somewhere where people who's families fought for the Confederacy can still see it. The UDC agreed to move the statue when they had the funds but reversed that decision on Thursday, July 30, during a meeting at which the Parker County Commissioners voted unanimously to keep the statue in place.
For the protesters, the statue represents an era of slavery and its public display is a constant reminder of the suffering of the past and the racism and bigotry of the present. Tony Crawford's family has lived in Weatherford since the 1850s. "My ancestors were lynched on this square," Crawford said. "You can say [the statue represents] fighting for your way of life, but what is your way of life? It includes the subjugation of human beings." He said he knows that the backlash will make it difficult for him to stay in his hometown if the statue is removed. "But my family will be able to hold their heads high. And that's what matters to me," Crawford said.
For the counter-protesters, the statue represents a long history of states' rights. "That soldier on top of that monument didn't own slaves and wasn't fighting for slavery," counter-protester Chris Webb said. "He was simply a young man trying to defend his home, his heart, his family, and his way of life, which was way beyond slavery." Webb's great great grandfather was a courier in the Confederate Army at the age of 15 and his family still visits the grave. "Tearing down this monument is like tearing down something that belongs to folks whose heritage does go back to the Confederacy," Webb said.