MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Someone vandalized a confederate monument on South Jefferson Street in Milledgeville in the past week. The hands and face of the statue were spray painted black.
The city says they've filed a police report.
13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha went to take a look at the statue and talked to some folks who were concerned about it.
"Those that really feel strongly about the statues know that it needs to be removed,” says Baldwin County NAACP Chapter President Cynthia Ward Edwards.
She says they got a call and learned about the damage last week.
"We took a ride to look at the statue, and so the Confederate soldiers have turned into -- I'm assuming -- black soldiers,” she explains.
Ward Edwards says the NAACP have been talking with city leaders about moving the statue because it concerns them.
“Most of the statues are removed from other counties and states as well, so why not Milledgeville, Baldwin County? Why are they still here?” she asks. “I’m sure there’s another home that we can find for those statues as well.”
She says now, she hopes the statue will be taken down after the vandalism.
"It carries a lot of weight, and it's carried a lot of weight for years for the entire community– not just the NAACP or the African Americans, so we're working closely with the mayor under her leadership to see what direction we need to go in,” Ward Edwards says.
Dorothy Brown is a former instructor at Georgia College.
"I don't like vandalism,” she says. “I don’t think it serves any purpose.”
Brown says the statue was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in1912 for the women and children who lost loved ones who served.
“People are not taught history anymore, and that's what's so sad,” she says.
Brown says the statue is a reminder to not repeat history and should be respected.
"It diminishes the person who does do the vandalism, and now someone has to clean it up.”
Adriana Kemp, 23, has lived in Milledgeville her entire life.
"It doesn’t really make me that surprised. To be honest, I don't really care,” she says.
Kemp says she passes by the statue every day on her way to work but never paid any attention to it. She says she sees the vandalism as a form of protest.
“I interpreted it as a way to say that Black people fought in these wars, too -– whether by force or voluntarily,” she explains. “Those who are upset about it, your reasons are totally valid.”
She says she's against vandalism, but it happens a lot nowadays.
“If you're doing it as a message, then there's better ways to get that message across,” Kemp says.
The Middle Georgia Preservation Alliance’s executive director Stephen Hammock could not speak on camera, but says, ‘"Grieving mothers, wives, and daughters on both sides lost hundreds of thousands of fathers, husbands, and sons on battlefields and in hospitals across America during the 1860s. The only way they could come to grips with such a holocaust was to erect monuments that would send a message to the future saying: 'We honor the boys who fought and died for us.' These monuments were erected out of a deep sense of GRIEF.
Clearly, Americans must either learn or re-learn to show respect for the cultures of all American ethnic groups, and to understand that when we disrespect those with African-American, Chinese, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, Native American, Russian, Southern, or any other roots, we are only showing how ignorant we truly are. Union and Confederate veterans who once did their best to kill each other shook hands and reunited our country in the decades after they had lain down their sabers and guns. This was true tolerance and true respect. 21st century Americans should seek to emulate them and to educate themselves and their children to honor all veterans who died defending their homelands - wherever they may come from."
We reached out to Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan for a statement. She did not reply.
However, City Manager Hank Griffeth says the statue is not city property, so the city will not be involved in cleaning it up.
We also tried reaching out to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who owns the monument, and they did not reply.