INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Many Jackson County voters who voted early/absentee in Independence on Thursday were surprised to see the last item on the ballot.
Question 2: “Shall Jackson County, Missouri, remove the statues of Andrew Jackson now located outside the Jackson County Courthouse and the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence?”
Peggy Ighalo wasn’t aware the issue would be on her ballot. But she didn’t hesitate in voting to remove the statues.
“In my opinion, if you really do your homework and you study history, I feel like it just represents slavery,” Ighalo said.
President 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’.
“It was sort of a tough decision,” said Kevin Schwartz. “But you have to remember what it stands for and who he was as a person, so I voted take it down.”
Others voted to keep the statues.
“I understand the concerns about his background and history but it can be a great teaching moment to converse about those very issues,” said James Laney.
Andrea Faiella agrees.
“It’s a part of our history, we don’t have slaves anymore, they were released,” Faiella said. “I think it’s been taken too far.”
Andrew Jackson 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. Jackson didn’t become president until 1829.