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Calls grow to remove Confederate statue in Rockville | News

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Calls grow to remove Confederate statue in Rockville
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Ever since the tragic and horrific Emanuel AME Church shooting last month, there's been national calls to remove confederate symbols. Those conversations have been a constant in the South, and now there's a call to remove such a symbol in Rockville, Maryland.

There is a Confederate soldier statue tucked away right next to the Red Brick Courthouse building near Montgomery Avenue in Downtown Rockville. Local leaders said there is a growing push to have it removed.

"Courthouses are places where, for me, they symbolize equal justice and equal rights for everyone. A statue that, you know, tells us to consider as heroes the guys who fought to keep people enslaved in this country does not mesh well with that," said Rockville City Councilmember, Tom Moore.

"I don't think in 2015 we do honor the 'heroes' of the confederacy or 'love the thin gray line,' said Montgomery County Council President, George Leventhal.

In 1913, the statue was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, according to Councilmember Moore, who also said there were different attitudes towards the Confederacy in the area back then.

Signs around the statue describe the monument and that history in further detail.

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Dozens of people who walk by the statue regularly admitted they've never seen it before.

"No. I try to stay away from the courthouse if you know what I mean," said Shellie Jackson laughing. But she took a more serious tone after saying she does find it offensive that a memorial like that is in the area.

"I do believe that racism is still here in America, so anything representing that, or that you know, would represent that or offend my race, I do agree that it should be removed," Jackson said.

"To me it represents something that's a negative," said Gene Jones, "and I've always wanted that: wanted the flags and the symbols removed."

Not everyone feels the same way.

A man named Amir told WUSA9 he is from Baltimore and is just in the area for Tuesday. He would not give his last name, but said in an on-camera interview, "It doesn't mean anything to me. I think it was in the past. Let it go. The more people harp on it, the more problems it's going to bring."

"The fact that we have a Confederate statue here, I don't find offense to it. I think it's a piece of history," said Chase Rice, "there are plenty things in history that people took offense to but are now in museums or appreciated. I think this should be no different."

While Rockville Councilmember Moore doesn't think the statue should remain where it is, does feel it would be better placed at the Beall-Dawson House. He says rented by the Montgomery County Historical Society and believes they would be able to provide better context on the statue and that point in history.

Regardless of which council member thinks what, it's all going to a public vote. Local leaders tell WUSA9 the statue actually sits on Montgomery County land so they want the community to weigh in.

There is a 6 p.m. public meeting scheduled for Monday, July 20th at Rockville's City Hall.

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