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Referendum to relocate Confederate monument fails in Forrest County

The Confederate statue was donated to the county in 1910
The Confederate statue was donated to the county in 1910(WDAM)
Updated: Nov. 5, 2020 at 5:13 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Confederate monument that sits outside the Forrest County courthouse in Hattiesburg is staying put.

The referendum to remove the monument failed, with 51% of Forrest County voters electing to keep the statue in place. The Forrest County Circuit Clerk’s Office finished counting all absentee and affidavit ballots Thursday.

The monument sits outside the Forrest County Circuit Courthouse at the intersection of Main Street and Eaton Street in Hattiesburg. It was donated to the county in 1910 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and is engraved with “to the men and women of the Confederacy.”

The Forrest County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on June 15 to place the issue on the ballot.

The divided board vote came days after Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker called for a dialogue on moving the monument to a more appropriate location, offering the city’s assistance in doing so.

A day after the Forrest County board vote, the Hattiesburg City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the relocation of the monument.

Calls to move the monument increased during protests that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May.

County supervisors did not specify an alternate location the monument could be moved to, but board attorney David Miller asked the Hattiesburg City Council to consider allowing the county to move the monument to Oaklawn Cemetery if Forrest County residents voted to move it.

In Miller’s proposal, the county and city would split the costs of relocating the monument.

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