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Public opinion on local downtown confederate monument

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A national controversy of removing confederate monuments stirred up local debate. In front of the Forrest County courthouse stands a confederate monument which some want to remove or update, while others think it should stay. A few locals said it represents a set of certain values that does not reflect today's progressive nation.

A local protestor, David Cage, fights against the confederate flag on Sundays in front of the University of Southern Mississippi campus, and said the confederate soldier downtown symbolizes racism and white supremacy.

Cage said, "It is a time of injustice, and just blatant racism. I can understand what they did fight for at that time was reasonable, but just like German soldiers, they fought for the Nazi's, but they fought for the wrong cause."

Retired Southern Miss professor, Dr. William Scarborough, said he is proud of his confederate heritage and supports the downtown monument.

"Oh absolutely I want to keep the statue" said Dr. Scarborough. He said he is upset that near by cities, such as, New Orleans, plans to remove its confederate monuments.

Scarborough added, "These people who are criticizing the confederacy and demonizing it, are not doing anything to promote racial harmony or racial reconciliation. Its just the opposite, it enrages people like me."

Whether its removing or keeping the monument, local Hattiesburg attorney, Glenda Funchess, said it needs to be updated.

Funchess said that the monument's inscription is wrong, "You know for people who are not historians, they may think that the U.S. Government called them and they stepped up to the plate."

The back of the confederate monument reads:

"When their country called they held back nothing. They cheerfully gave their property and their lives."

She further said, "But they fought, they seceded from the Union and they found the Union, they fought the United States of America."

Funchess does not see the city taking down the monument, but hopes its leaders seek social justice. She offered a more democratic solution.

"I think we should have equal opportunity, for every confederate statue that you see on court yards, we should have the right to put up a civil rights monument" said Funchess.

In war Americans fight for their country, on soil, Americans live under the same U.S. flag, but others have died for the country's rights, one of them being the freedom of speech.

The argument to keep, remove, update confederate monuments around the country will always be a debatable topic.

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