Middle Georgia State's History and Political Science department hosted a public forum to discuss Confederate monuments and the various points of view about what they symbolize Wednesday evening.
The discussion was led by by three Civil War historians/professors: Dr. Niels Eichhorn of Middle Georgia State, Dr. James ‘Trae’ Welborn of Georgia College, and Dr. Mark A. Smith of Fort Valley State University.
Audience members chimed in throughout the forum asking questions as well as voicing their opinions.
Former Mayor C. Jack Ellis was in the crowd and shared his thoughts on moving the monuments to Rose Hill Cemetery.
“Yes, they were cannon fodders. I was a cannon fodder in Vietnam. But I don't get a statue in Vietnam. We lost. You don't get a statue when you lose. We're not suggesting that it be harmed in anyway. We are suggesting that it doesn't belong in the town square."
One Macon man showed up, and he brought his opinions with him.
"I'm here to defend the monuments," said Johnny Mack Nickles. "I do not look at those monuments as a racist issue. To me, they are history, they are our history."
He says he realizes some people don't see it that way, but there are monuments around town that commemorate black people, like Rodney Davis, who he has all the respect in the world for.
Moreover, he added that when he saw what happened in Charllotesville, it put him in the mind of what happened in the 1930's when Hitler came into power.
"They opened the door, and allowed those people to come in. I don't want Macon to do that. Macon's a great town; I've been here all my life. We've got monuments for alot of different people. I think they all ought to stay."