A piece of local history isn’t moving, at least for now.
Jefferson County Commissioners unanimously made that decision Thursday after hearing from residents.

Debate centered on removing a courthouse plaque honoring Confederate Civil War soldiers.

But that’s not the end of the story.
Another plaque honoring Union soldiers may soon join it.
Or perhaps others, including one honoring all local war veterans.
Citizens will once again be a key part to the county’s decision-making process, said Commissioner Patsy Noland.
That’s appropriate since the debate began in the community,  she said.

Commissioners received a letter from Shepherdstown’s Marshall-Holley-Mason American Legion Auxiliary. Six African-American members penned it.

 

It outlined reasons for removing the Confederate memorial.

The plaque is one of four on the front of the building in Charles Town. One honors town founder Charles Washington.
It was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Leetown Chapter in May 1986.
The plaque’s proximity to the front door of a public building is troublesome.

“It is impossible to enter the courthouse or even to vote without being taunted by its presence,” the letter reads.

It’s also in the same general location where individuals were sold into slavery, but there’s no recognition for them.
Most citizens voiced support for the plaque, but the proposal may help satisfy all concerned about this piece of history, Noland said.
Balance is important.

“I think everyone is getting some of what they wanted,” she said.

Plans call for advertising the new committee so that folks can apply for possible membership.
There’s no timeline yet for creating the new citizens’ committee.
It will be on a future commission agenda for public discussion.
Transparency is taken seriously by commissioners, she said.

That’s why a discussion of the auxiliary’s request was listed on this week’s meeting agenda.

“We will see what the committee comes up with,” she said.
Plenty of folks who didn’t attend the meeting were still watching to see what happened.
Social media buzzed with hundreds of comments on various Facebook pages, including Shannondale Live and WV Pan.
Posts overwhelmingly supported leaving the plaque alone.

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