The Confederate Monument that stands in front of the Bolivar County Courthouse in Cleveland, MS.

CLEVELAND – The Bolivar County Board of Supervisors is considering removing a Confederate monument in front of the courthouse in Cleveland.

During their regular board meeting on Monday morning, the board voted to authorize their attorney to look into the legal steps necessary for the board to remove the monument. 

“We want to do everything respectfully and legally,” said Larry King, president of the Board of Supervisors. 

District one Supervisor Jacorius Liner agreed with taking this step. 

“I’m totally on board with the attorney looking at what legal steps we can take to have that removed off county property because 400 years of bondage, slavery, discrimination, bigotry and apartheid is something that we just don’t want to represent in this county,” Liner said. “Hopefully, we can peacefully and respectfully have [the Confederate monument] removed off the courthouse lawn.

Bolivar County has taken steps in recent history to remove Confederate iconography from government buildings when in 2017 the Cleveland Board of Aldermen voted to remove the state flag from city hall. 

This decision was made as waves of protest have washed across the country demanding racial equality, which includes ending the exaltation of Confederate iconography. 

Last week, legislative leaders began taking action to change Mississippi’s state flag, the last in the country to carry a Confederate emblem. Similar to Bolivar County, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors on Monday voted to take the issue to ballot and let voters decide whether to relocate the Confederate statue in front of their county courthouse, the Hattiesburg American reported.

On Thursday, the board of trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning is expected to consider and approve a plan that would relocate the Confederate monument at the University of Mississippi.

Bolivar County Administrator Will Hooker said the supervisors will evaluate what the next steps for removing the monument will be after the attorney presents his findings at the next meeting, which is July 6.

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Kelsey Davis Betz is from Mobile, Ala., and currently lives in Cleveland, where she worked as a Mississippi Delta-based reporter covering education and intersecting issues. Kelsey has a dual degree in journalism and Spanish from Auburn University and worked as an editorial intern at Texas Monthly and a courts reporter at the Montgomery Advertiser. She is a 2018 Educating Children in Mississippi Fellow at the Hechinger Report and is a co-founder of the Mississippi Delta Public Newsroom.