Two statues of Andrew Jackson will remain standing in the county named after him. Jackson County voters rejected the measure to remove both the downtown statue and the one outside the Truman Courthouse in Independence with more than 72 percent of the vote.
Calls for the statues to be removed began in June, and two men were arrested for vandalizing the downtown statue on June 25. The statue, which has been up since 1933, was spray painted with several obscenities, as well the word “slave owner.” Jackson — the seventh U.S. president, who served from 1829 to 1837 — is among 12 former presidents who owned slaves before the practice was outlawed after the Civil War. In July, the Jackson County Legislature voted 7-2 to let voters decide on the fate of the statues. Before that, legislators had voted down measures to remove the statues and to establish a committee examining the issue
After the vandalism, Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. joined the cancel culture movement and called for the removal of the statues. In a statement late Tuesday, White said:
“I am proud to have stood up and stood on behalf of a movement demanding fairness, justice and equality in Jackson County. I remain committed in my belief that the statues of a man who owned slaves, caused thousands of Native Americans to die and never stepped foot in our County should be removed from our public facilities. The statues are not an appropriate representation of who we are and who we strive to be as a community — a community that is welcoming, diverse and open-minded.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for our democratic process, and while I may not always agree with the outcome, I believe there is something we can learn from every election. I look forward to engaging in more opportunities to eliminate racism and discrimination in Jackson County as we continue the fight for equal rights and justice for those we serve.”
Even with efforts to remove the statues, no leaders had called for the county to change its name. Those defending historical statues said that was hypocritical and proved the statue move was purely political.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice