Oxford Confederate statue can be moved, but not off public property

Lafayette County courthouse in Oxford, Mississippi (Wikimedia Commons)

OXFORD, Miss. — To many, the Confederate statue outside the Lafayette County Courthouse may look harmless, but Oxford resident Effie Burt says it still evokes painful memories of her own family’s encounters with racism.

Burt told WREG how her parents were run out of town by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

“I would love for the statue to be moved to a museum because we don’t need to forget the history,” said Burt.

But WREG has learned any plans to relocate the statue, which has sat outside the courthouse since 1907, would come with certain restrictions.

In a letter dated Oct. 2, the Mississippi Attorney General’s office told the Lafayette County Board of Superivors they could move the statue if they ever decided to — sort of.

“A monument may be moved within the county jurisdictional limits to some other more suitable location on county property,” the letter stated. “A monument may not be removed from the county or from public property,” it continued.

Matt Reardon, who was arrested earlier this year while demonstrating in support of the statue, said he hopes the county doesn’t take the state up on its offer to move the statue, even if it stays in Lafayette County.

“There’s a chance in relocating it that they damage the statue. Why move something that’s been there for 110 years?” said Reardon.

WREG called and emailed the president of the Board of Supervisors to learn if the board was planning on moving the statue or if it was even up for serious discussion. WREG hadn’t heard back as of Wednesday evening.

“This has not been an issue until 2017, and now all of a sudden, everybody is offended by an inanimate statue,” said Reardon.

As inanimate it may be, it’s a reminder of a chapter in American history that’s still enough to move some.

“If they could feel the hurt that I feel, I don’t think they would still want that,” said Burt.