Madison County Commission Chairman explains process and decision to move Confederate monument

The monument now sits at Maple Hill Cemetery.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 5:58 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 8:42 PM

WAAY 31 is learning more about what led up to the removal of the Confederate monument in front of the Madison County Courthouse.

Late last week, crews moved it roughly one mile away from downtown Huntsville to the Confederate burial section of Maple Hill Cemetery where it now sits.

The solider on the Confederate monument outside the Madison County Courthouse in Huntsville was removed at 1:17 a.m. Oct. 23. (Image is a screen grab of a Facebook Live video by Reemuhlus Bowden)

Chairman Dale Strong stressed they went through the process to move the monument in accordance with the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. He said the county and city decided moving the monument to Maple Hill Cemetery is what was best for the community.

"My hope is that we will look back and say we did the best thing. We didn't go and take it down and tear it down. We did as we relocated it to a more appropriate location, and I think that most people respect that," Strong said. "We understood that there are things that have had to be done. We were looking at doing this before other situations arose. The Madison County Commission was committed unanimously over the preservation and relocation of this monument."

"That's the thing, there are a lot of differing of opinions on how this should be handled. The big thing is, we allowed the public to address the Madison County Commission at many of our commission meetings. They were in excess of 30 people who were allowed 3 minutes to address their elected body," he went on to say.

The City of Huntsville says it spent about $33,000 to move the monument from the courthouse to the cemetery.

Strong said the county will be the one to pay the $25,000 fine if the attorney general's office feels they broke the law.

"That would be on the Madison County Commission. We are not going to dodge it. The big thing, we worked in conjunction with the mayor, with the city council. Again, we relocated this monument," he said. "We feel we did everything within the law to do when the 90 days expired and the committee never took it up. Our thing is, we did everything within our power, we feel good about our position."

It's unclear if the attorney general's office will take any action at this time. In the meantime, Chairman Strong said he, along with his commission, have many other projects they now want to shift their focus to in order to improve the community.

"The situation is we moved forward from this day. I think our county is as strong as it's ever been, I think our business. There are differing of opinions, and everything that we do should be to represent the people of this community," Strong added.

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