Forrest Co. voters will decide fate of Confederate monument in November

Updated: Jun. 15, 2020 at 1:10 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Forrest County voters will decide the fate of a Confederate monument that sits outside the county courthouse in downtown Hattiesburg.

A divided Forrest County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Monday to put the issue of relocating the statue on the ballot in November.

Supervisors Sharon Thompson, Rod Woullard and David Hogan voted in favor of adding the issue to the ballot. Supervisors Burkett Ross and Chris Bowen voted against the measure.

Several citizens addressed the board during Monday’s meeting to voice their opinions on the issue.

Some argued the monument should stay where it has stood for more than a decade. Others said the statue is not representative of the community and should be removed.

Calls to take down Confederate monuments have grown during the protests that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minn.

During a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Hattiesburg on Saturday, several community leaders, including Woullard, called for the monument outside the Forrest County Courthouse to be removed.

Last week, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker offered the city’s help to maintain a dialogue about moving the monument to a "more appropriate location.”

County supervisors did not specify where the statue could be moved to if voters decide it should be removed.

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