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We need fair plan for soldier memorial

Profile image for Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial
Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial

Denton County Judge Mary Horn and our four county commissioners keep kicking the Confederate Soldier Memorial can down the road, hoping it will go away as people gradually turn their attention to different issues and concerns.

But it will not go away.

Times have changed.

This isn't the 1950s anymore.

Retired businessman Paul Meltzer appeared Thursday before the Denton Public Art Committee, an arm of city government, to suggest putting a monument to emancipated Denton County slaves on the Square.

He did not put forward the idea as an explicit antidote to the Confederate memorial on the Square, but the granite soldier atop the arch clearly loomed large in the background.

Some people see the world in black and white. They believe the Confederate Soldier Memorial must be either taken down or left up, with no middle ground available. But that's not the case.

There are a lot of very bright people in Denton with bold, creative ideas.

We elect county judges, county commissioners and school boards to solve problems and lead the community toward positive change.

Leadership, in this case, means setting a table around which everyone can gather to arrive at a compromise that respects our collective heritage -- a compromise that includes honest historical portrayal of black history and white history.

We shudder to suggest it, but we need a committee to come up with a plan that everyone can embrace as fair and reasonable.

Members should include someone from county government, city government and Denton ISD.

Give NAACP leader Willie Hudspeth and a Black Chamber of Commerce representative seats at the table along with Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy.

Put the most credible Civil War historians from the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University on the panel.

Committee members must be committed to developing a consensus and crafting a report with clear recommendations and funding to achieve them.

Mary Horn or her successor probably have the power to maintain the status quo. Dealing with racial issues is never comfortable.

But a bonafide solution might bring us a collective sigh of relief and be good for the community's mental health.