17CLARKESTATUE

A citizens committee will be formed to explore options for a Confederate monument outside the Clarke County Courthouse in Berryville.

BERRYVILLE — The public’s help is being sought in determining the fate of a Confederate monument outside the Clarke County Courthouse.

Tuesday afternoon, the Clarke County Board of Supervisors announced that a citizens committee will be formed to explore options for the monument. The announcement came after a presentation about the monument’s history and a 35-minute private meeting with the county’s part-time attorney, who told the board it has no power to do anything to the memorial on its own.

“We’re not sure what to do at this point,” said board Chairman David Weiss.

The monument was erected in 1900, more than three decades after the Civil War ended, to honor the county’s Confederate veterans. Although it depicts a soldier, no specific person apparently served as its model, county architectural historian Maral Kalbian said based on her research.

In June, county resident Ross Oldham asked the supervisors to remove the monument from outside the courthouse on North Church Street in downtown Berryville and place it at “a more appropriate location of historical learning,” such as the Clarke County Historical Society or the Battle of Berryville site. He said the monument is a painful reminder of the South’s support of slavery.

Confederate soldiers, “regardless of their personal valor, were on the wrong side of history,” said Weiss, the Buckmarsh District supervisor. “The South was on the wrong side of history.”

Oldham’s request came two months after the General Assembly approved, and Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law, a measure letting local governments decide the fates of Confederate monuments within their jurisdictions. Since then, various monuments statewide have been removed.

During the Civil War era, “the General Assembly probably had no African Americans on it, and the Board of Supervisors had none on it,” Berryville-area resident Adeela Al-Khalili told the board on Tuesday, showing “we are not (considered) equal citizens.”

It has been determined that the monument and the spot on which it sits are not county property, despite being part of the courthouse grounds. In the late 1800s, the county conveyed to the now-defunct Association of the Survivors of the Clarke Cavalry a tract no more than 25 feet in diameter so a monument could be erected there, research has revealed.

“You don’t have the authority ... to remove that statue or relocate it,” county attorney Robert Mitchell told the supervisors, “because it’s not on county property.”

Weiss said he couldn’t discuss what Mitchell told the board during the closed session. However, he said Mitchell didn’t provide any possible options for the statue.

It will be up to the committee to determine options, he said.

How the county will seek residents to serve on the committee has not been announced. Weiss said the panel will be comprised of “a cross-section of the community so the board can realize the different views” that people have.

“I ask for patience from the community ... while we work through this issue,” he said.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

(13) comments

USMC2UNC

I applaud the historical research being invested in this effort and the Boards continued focus on this issue. I hope that as a community, we Clarke County residents can work together and relocate the monument.

jps320161

What is now Clarke Co. established by slaveowner Lord Fairfax. Supervisors, your mission is clear. And how can Fairfax county live with that?

Earl from Berryville

I have lived in Berryville for many years. I believe it is time to remove these statues to a CS cemetery, battlefield or museum. They do not belong in public parks, or on courthouse lawns. I believe it is obvious that they represent approval of and gratitude to those that fought to preserve human slavery. How can any 21st century American condone human slavery? It’s not a Conservative vs. Liberal issue, it’s just common decency. It’s not about “States Rights” it’s about the right to own other human beings. I realize The Civil War is a complicated issue, but….. by 1864 and beyond it definitely was, primarily about abolishing human slavery. I have many primary source documents that prove it was looked at that way in that era. It also is a slap in the face to black Americans who are the descendants of those who were enslaved……please remove it. Thank you.

Mr Incredible

This guy is, as they used to be called in the South, a carpetbagger who uses an Arlington address for tax purposes. My suggestion is, if you don't like the statue, move back to Arlington. They already took all of theirs down. They're even trying to get them removed from the battlefields down there. Shows liberals can never, ever be satisfied.

Bryan.the.Nuri

*yawn*

redsox

If the County conveyed the property in the late 1800s to a group that is now defunct, the County should condemn it and take it back. Simple, and no one to dispute it. They should do this no matter what is decided to be done with the statue.

Jim McCarthy

It's often only a matter of whose ox is gored or, as one commenter noted, offended when a dispute is discussed. Far too many simply have lost the capacity to have empathy for the views of others. The new mantra is to argue the point demonstrating that one's opinion is far more acceptable than another's. Silly or snarky comments are not discussion but mere vacuous thoughts.

slowe

Bury it. Face down, in a nearby Confederate cemetery. Inscription: "Here lies the failed rebellion against the United States. Here lies the protectors of slavery. Here lies the Lost Cause. "

gj29

Hmm. So one resident can complain about something and action must immediately be taken? I didn't know that. I learn something every day.

I think the statue is a great reminder of the past history of our area and was put up when veterans from that conflict were still alive. It does not depict any specific person that owned slaves nor does it even carry a firearm for conflict. It is a remembrance not a call to fight, etc.. The location was and still is fine. It isn't one of those statues put up during the Civil Rights struggles in the 50s and 60s. That would, perhaps, be a different story and would have conveyed a very different purpose. People will always want to be offended about something though and wanting to change everything to match their own personal preferences. This article is a painful reminder of that fact.

I am going to try this new theory though. Here we go. I am offended at the offense that this resident has while feeling the need to lecture his neighbors on this topic. Therefore, as a resident of Clarke County, I demand that I am provided with a suitcase with $1M. That will allow to heal from all the painful offense that the county has given me. All I need to do is to ask as a resident. Right? I am one of those. Where do I go for the suitcase?

Conservative

"We live in the United States of the Offended." (RIP, Mr. Robert D. Raiford)

Bryan.the.Nuri

Yeah, we get it. "Slavery sucked but, hey, y'all, get over it"

You don't really get context and messaging, huh?

gj29

Hey look! There is the guy from a different county that goes around on social media all day commenting on pages and articles from different counties in VA! Fun times. It is particularly fun seeing your messages where you insult people and call them deragatory names. You are such a motivation to everyone and in no way need to find a more productive use of your time than your all day commenting online. ;) I remember when you called someone "retarded" once and then ran for the school board where you wanted to take your attitude and viewpoints and subject children to them. Yikes. Have a good day!

gj29

I looked it up. I was slightly wrong. You called multiple people "retards" online. I wouldn't want to quote you incorrectly. Wow. Just wow. The fact that you have the gall to lecture anyone online on any topic whatsoever after calling people that (and other derogatory things as well) is actually rather impressive. You get an A for determination though.

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