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Over 100 gather at Confederate memorial in weekly protest

Profile image for Julia Falcon
Julia Falcon, For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Every Sunday evening for the past few weeks, the Denton United Against Hate and Racism group has been protesting at the Confederate soldier memorial in front of the Courthouse the Square. 

Originally led by Denton County NAACP President Willie Hudspeth, often demonstrating by himself or with just one other person, for the past 17 years the peaceful protests have carried on rain or shine. 

On Sunday, the crowd began with a handful, then steadily grew to over 100. As the march around the courthouse went on, others trickled in. 

"We are here for a peaceful demonstration of what we believe," Hudspeth told the crowd. 

Hudspeth has long asked Denton County commissioners to move the monument, modify it or put it in context with slavery and black history. More recently, he's asked commissioners to simply put the topic on their agenda for discussion.

Almost 100 people joined Denton County NAACP President Willie Hudspeth at the Courthouse on the Square in Denton Sunday evening to protest the Confederate monument.DRC
Almost 100 people joined Denton County NAACP President Willie Hudspeth at the Courthouse on the Square in Denton Sunday evening to protest the Confederate monument.
DRC

Indivisible Denton was one group whose members showed up for Sunday's demonstration. Member Steve Wolverton said he wanted to bring awareness to the statue. 

"We found out Willie was out here a few weeks ago — some of us weren't aware he was out here," Wolverton said. "There is a lot of growing awareness in our society, and racism is one of them."

Hudspeth and others who spoke on Sunday encouraged the crowd to attend the Denton County Commissioners Court meeting this Tuesday in an attempt to get the Confederate monument placed on the agenda. 

Activists on Sunday were collecting signatures on a petition asking county commissioners to get a referendum vote to decide the fate of the monument on the Square. 

"If you can get people to follow your direction and try to make a movement happen, that's how you get it done in America," Hudspeth said. 

Around the country, calls have been increasing for governments and institutions to remove symbols of the Confederacy after a protester demonstrating against white supremacists was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In a recent letter from Denton County Judge Mary Horn to a resident, Horn mentioned that the monument has been a topic of discussion during commissioners' regular meetings over the past 17 years.

Currently, Hudspeth is planning a march in November, spanning from Denton to Austin, called the Love March. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Almost 100 people joined Willie Hudspeth at the Courthouse on the Square in Denton Sunday evening to protest the Jim Crow-era Confederate monument. Hudspeth has protested at this location every Sunday for 17 years, and only recently has garnered increased support. Jake King/DRC