COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — I suppose you thought that after Confederate monuments were removed from parks in Memphis, that the issue for Shelby County would be gone also. Wrong. We are still fighting a Civil War battle over monuments – only this one is taking place in the suburban city of Collierville, smack in the middle of the town square. That is where a Confederate monument has stood since the 1940s commemorating Civil War battles in Collierville in 1863.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd and other police killings of African Americans, cities and states have moved to take down offensive monuments that many see as tributes to slavery, racism, and oppression. Even Mississippi has gotten rid of its state flag which contained the Confederate battle flag as part of its design.
But in Collierville, officials are not budging. Despite protests against the granite monument – including one Monday that attracted counter-protesters and led to the arrest of one guy who obviously is opposed to moving the marker.
Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner has made his feelings clear. He intends for the monument to stay, and says its presence in the publicly-owned town square is not an issue. I beg to differ. It is an issue, whether Joyner thinks so or not. And it’s too bad he’s not interested in a meaningful debate. It’s also too bad he’s preventing Collierville from reckoning with race. And that’s my point of view.