Stonewall Jackson statue debate continues

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Harrison County commissioners continue hearing opinions on all sides of the Stonewall Jackson statue in the courthouse lawn. Now, the Clarksburg History Museum has plan to hopefully appease both sides.

“Instead of saying- leave it there at the courthouse or move it to a location,” Michael Spatafore, Clarksburg History Museum president said on Talkline,”We’ve decided, if we were part of the discussion, we could best present the story of Stonewall Jackson, the good and the bad- the whole story of Stonewall Jackson.”

Spatafore told commissioners the statue could be placed in the museum or two other unspecified locations in the downtown area.

Jim Griffin, chairman of the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival addressed commissioners in public session and told them Stonewall Jackson in the courthouse lawn is not appropriate for all residents.

“Displaying Confederate monuments on public property indicates the building does not truly belong to all the people,” Griffin said on WAJRs Talk of the Town,”Because the Confederates fought for slavery and that means not all people are free.”

Griffin contends Jackson was a lawless traitor that never returned to West Virginia after leaving for Virginia.

“They were people who under normal circumstances would be called traitors to our country,” Griffin said,”They rebelled against the country we seem to glorify that and make it seem like it’s not as bad as it was.”

Following weeks of calls for social justice and equality, Griffin says this is the right time and these are the right questions to ask.

“All of my life, as an African-American it’s been a topic of discussion- why do we glorify Stonewall Jackson?” Griffin asked,”I think that’s the question that needs to be answered-why?”

On June 17 commissioners voted 2 – 1 to keep the statue in the courthouse lawn, David Hinkle was the only commissioner who was in favor of moving the statue. Commission president, Ron Watson wants to see the issue go to the voters of Harrison County.