INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Jackson County residents have voted to let statues of former President Andrew Jackson remain outside the county’s two courthouses.
Jackson County’s Question 2 came to be after the statue of the nation’s 7th president outside the downtown Kansas City courthouse was vandalized earlier this summer. In past months, there has been intense public debate about statues honoring Confederate generals and slave owners.
Jackson was a slave owner and also authorized the ‘Indian Removal Act’ in 1830, which forcibly relocated Native Americans to reservations. Thousands died along the way in what’s been called “The Trail of Tears.”
Andrew Jackson also never set foot in Missouri during his lifetime. In fact, when the county was named for him in 1826, Jackson was still a U.S. Senator. He didn’t become president until 1829.
County legislators voted to leave the fate of the county’s two statues — the other located at the historic courthouse in Independence — up to the people.
Voters across Jackson County seemed to be split on the matter on Election Day.
“I voted should be removed just because I think he was not that great of a person,” Trinity Lupo said. “It’s showing that the community isn’t sticking together very well.”
But others argued we should leave history alone.
“He was a soldier. He was a president,” Cheryl Ellis said. “You can’t change it. It is what it is.”
County Executive Frank White, who pushed for the statues to be removed, issued a statement after Tuesday’s vote:
“I am proud to have stood up and stood on behalf of a movement demanding fairness, justice and equality in Jackson County. I remain committed in my belief that the statues of a man who owned slaves, caused thousands of Native Americans to die and never stepped foot in our County should be removed from our public facilities.
“The statues are not an appropriate representation of who we are and who we strive to be as a community – a community that is welcoming, diverse and open-minded. I have a tremendous amount of respect for our democratic process, and while I may not always agree with the outcome, I believe there is something we can learn from every election.
“I look forward to engaging in more opportunities to eliminate racism and discrimination in Jackson County as we continue the fight for equal rights and justice for those we serve.”