Florence nonprofit proposes putting Dred Scott statue in front of court house

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On  Monday night a group in Florence will ask the county commission for permission to erect a statue adjacent to a Confederate monument.

The local social justice education group Project Say Something wants to put a statue of Dred and Harriet Scott in front of the court house. You learned about them in high school, but how often since then? That’s what Project Say Something members bring up about the civil rights figures who unsuccessfully sued for their freedom and had ties to Florence.

“For me it makes it more real and more alive to realize that he lived here for 10 years,” said Lee Freeman, local historian and PSS member.

“His case shaped our nation,” said Camille Bennett, founder of PSS. “Some historians believe that his case sparked the civil war.”

The nonprofit’s members say the statue would be privately funded so they’re not asking the county commission for any money, just permission. They’re also not asking for anything to happen with the Confederate monument.

“We wanna put that whole era into context,” said Freeman. “We’ve got the Confederate monument that tells one story. We wanna balance that out and tell the other side of that story. So we’re not about taking down or removing or tearing down. We wanna actually discuss what was going on.”

“We envision this as an educational component to help tell Florence’s story,” added PSS member Brian Murphy. “We envision school children coming out to this place to learn about not only Dred and Harriet Scott, but this entire period.”

The city is celebrating its bicentennial and they believe this fits in with the emphasis on the value of history.

“Their quest for justice certainly speaks to the values that we as all Americans can really be inspired by,” Murphy said. “Heroes to justice should go in front of the court house and I think that’s all we’re asking.”

Last year Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill preventing the removal of historical monuments.

Much lies in the hands of the county commissioners. WZDX News will be following what happens so be sure to stay tuned.

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