Nearly 50 people made their way to Selma City Hall Tuesday to further protest the construction of a monument to Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest in Old Live Oak Cemetery. -- Ashley Johnson

Council votes to halt monument construction

Published 10:55pm Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two weeks ago, the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference out of Atlanta spoke at a press conference considering the rebuilding effort of the Nathan B. Forrest monument in Old Live Oak Cemetery.

In that press conference Charles Steele Jr. said he would bring 400,000 to march on Selma into the city hall chambers. Steele and SCLC didn’t deliver that exact number, but more than 40 protestors arrived in town to walk to city hall for a special work session at 3 p.m. on Tuesday and this led the council to make a motion regarding the monument.

The protesters had power in numbers through signatures, carrying with them all 325,000 signatures from a petition on against the construction of the monument.

The work session scheduled ten people to come and address the council and all who spoke used their time to persuade the council to not go forward with the monument, some of them even making legal and physical threats.

“If that statue goes up, you will have to put me in jail cause I will break it down,” Kalvin Monroe said of the monument. “We say we are going to go beyond, we are going back.”

The argument against the monument’s existence was the same as past meetings and protests — those who spoke mentioned this statue is a symbol of hatred and Selma is not the place for it.

However, three scheduled to speak at the work session requested to speak before the council during the regular council meeting later on.

Faya Rose Toure, Sherette Spicer and Malika Fortier all spoke at the council meeting after the council approved it. Each put pressure on the council, and Toure’s questioning of the rightful owner of the property where the monument is located, led the council to delay construction of the monument.

After a long discussion with city attorney Jimmy Nunn about possible repercussions of a council decision, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw made a motion to halt construction of the monument until a court could declare who owned the land in the cemetery and what was the intended usage of the land.

Council member Tommy Atchison seconded the motion; Susan Keith and Greg Bjelke abstained from the vote. Crenshaw, Bowie, Angela Benjamin and Atchison voted yes to postponing construction.

  • Vonnie

    All council members should have voted halt construction, but as usual some of the members do not have the backbone to put their racist and bigoted constituency in their place.

    In this day in age, it should be a very simple matter to just stand up and call Forrest what he really was, a bigot, and usually bigots are liars and cheats too.

  • D-man

    I see Mark Duke is trying desperately to stretch up and stick his head into yet another picture.

    I heard somewhere once that narcissism and impotence often go hand in hand (no pun intended). I’m sure the spiritual wife(s) are thankful for viagra.

  • captain113

    That’s SELMA CITY council for you.

    • Vonnie

      And, what?

  • popdukes12

    Please tell me again why council people are elected to office. It is my understanding that a council person is elected to vote on issues. To not vote on something simple because it may be politically damning is an abdication of their duty. They could abstain if there is a conflict of interest, religious concerns, etc., but to not vote simply because some of your constituents may not “like” your vote is not serving your constituents. Weak, weak, weak. pops

  • popdukes12

    “The work session” ? Sorry, I didn’t realize the council could take a binding vote at a work session. They could vote to bring it up at the next council meeting, but to bind the city at a “work session” doesn’t sound proper. Maybe someone could look it up in the current “Robert’s rules of Order”, mine may be out of date. If this was called to order as a council meeting, then they could and minutes of this meeting should have been taken and posted as a council meeting. Anything less is not legally binding and actionable by city employees as to it’s validity. pops

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