Union County Confederate monument sub-commitee member speaks out about his role in the group

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EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE) — Union County residents will soon know what is next for the Confederate monument at the courthouse.

While much of the public has been waiting to hear about the fate of the statue, Bishop George Calloway has been going through each of the letters and petitions that he and the Quorum Court members received.

“It took me 2 to 3 to days to look through them,” Calloway said.

Calloway volunteered to be on the monument sub-committee as the one community member at large. Three Justices of the Peace also served on the committee including Carolyn Jones, Cecil Polk and Greg Harrison.

“Our goal was to get the information together, bring it back to the Quorum Court and the judge and evaluate it to make decision on how we were going to deal with this particular situation.

The members met for a special called meeting in June to make a motion to wait to gather information about the legalities of what it would take to remove the statue which was erected in 1910 and commemorates men in Union County who served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War in 1861-1865.

Calloway and each Justice of the Peace and received their packets over the weekend. Calloway said he received four packets filled with letters and petitions from the public. Calloway believes there were over 2,000 signatures from both sides of the issue and more than 1,000 letters.

While reading through each letter, he couldn’t help but feel each person’s pain on why and why not the statue should be removed.

“People put their hearts into those letters,” he said. “It was very emotional going through it because going through the package and actually reading the different letters it shared a lot of different things that I was aware of and it shared many things that I wasn’t aware of.”

Calloway won’t get to vote on the ultimate decision but if he could he would let the people decide at the polls.

“It’s really the fairest way to do it is to put it on the ballot,” he said. “Nobody can point at the judge who has been as fair as he can or the justice of the peaces who are being as fair as they can. They can’t point at any individual.”

He hopes even after this, the community will be able to move forward.

“Let’s do this as peaceful as possible because we don’t want anyone to get hurt with it remaining or going,” Calloway.

Judge Mike Loftin hopes the court will be able to make a decision at the meeting Thursday morning.

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