Another step closer: Group raises money for monument relocation
By Miles Smith
With just a couple of quick housekeeping items left to take care of, moving day draws near for the Confederate monument that has sat on the Caldwell Courthouse lawn for nearly a century.
It’s been more than a year since Caldwell County Commissioners voted to initialize the process of moving the monument to the Caldwell County Jail Museum in Lockhart after a nine person committee said they supported its removal and recommended the construction of a different monument memorializing the men and women who came to Lockhart via the Chisholm Trail.
The caveat: the citizens who wanted the monument placed in 1923 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy removed would have to raise the money necessary to relocate it, and the only company that bid on the job wanted $29,600 to complete it.
The grassroots effort to raise the money was ultimately successful, raising the funds necessary to move forward with contracting HCS Inc., which will handle the extrication, relocation and restabilization of the monument at the museum.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy by any stretch … but all it took was us spreading the word online,” said Cody Kimbell, co-owner of Bluebonnet Records who helped lead the grassroots efforts.
Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said the check had been safely delivered to the Caldwell County treasurer’s office, and that county officials had reached out to the contractor to get the work scheduled.
Before they can pay the contractor, they must formally accept the check at an Oct. 11 meeting. But after that, work should begin pretty soon and be completed quickly, the judge said.
“A compromise was struck,” Haden said. “They did their part, and now we’ll do ours. There are still people out there (who disapprove of the removal), but I’ve told them that we have a very diverse community, that this is the action we’re going to take, and that’s that.”
Approximately 280 individual donors gave to the cause, with most donations ranging from $50-100.
The Texas Historical Commission in April authorized the issuance of the permit allowing for the monument to be removed and relocated provided the project begins within six months of THC approval and is completed within 60 days after work begins, so the money was raised in the nick of time.
Margaret Carter, a Lockhart native who founded Where We Thrive, an organization that provides services to underserved communities, said she was eight years old when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and that as kids, she and her siblings weren’t allowed to stand downtown by the monument, where she joined Kimbell and Mano Amiga co-founder Jordan Buckley to officially announce the money had been raised and the check had been delivered.
Carter, a Black woman, was pleased the money had been raised and that the monument’s removal would finally come to fruition.
But things still have a long way to go, she said.
“Things have to change for the betterment of all, especially our children,” Carter said. “There was a great big old oak tree where one of the churches is now, and that’s where the black community had to leave their children to come (downtown) and do their shopping. All my life this has been a very prejudiced community, but I love Lockhart.
“Education is key. Black history is a prominent part of America’s history, and it should be shared with everyone. No one knows America’s true history, so this is an opportunity for black, brown and white to learn this history together and embrace each other, because we are all the same.”