WYSO

Protesters Demand Return Of Historic Franklin Robert E. Lee Monument

Aug 20, 2017

Some Franklin residents waved Confederate flags at a rally Aug. 19, 2017, at the former site of a Confederate plaque. Some residents are expressing anger over the monument's removal overnight by officials with the city of Franklin, who cited public safety concerns.
Credit Jess Mador / WYSO

More than a dozen people waved Confederate flags and called for the return of a Confederate monument to its historic location in the Warren County city of Franklin on Saturday, Aug. 19.

The stone-based bronze plaque had sat for decades at the intersection of Dixie Highway and Hamilton Middletown Road before being taken down by city officials overnight last Thursday. 

No major incidents were reported at the gathering, which drew honks and waves from passing motorists throughout the afternoon. 

Some Franklin residents say they’re frustrated over the city’s handling of the situation.

Franklin Township resident Becky Graham attended the rally with several of her neighbors, and told WYSO the Robert E. Lee-dedicated monument should be returned to its rightful place in the community. 

“It’s been here for 90 years, why remove it down now? I understand people don’t like it. Don’t look at it. There are things that I don’t like that I just overlook. There are more important things in life, more important things than a monument that has been there for 90 years. It’s our history. You can’t change history,” she says.

Franklin residents Cathy Fisher, Juanita McGuire and Becky Graham. They participated in a pro-Confederacy rally Aug. 19, 2017, at the former site of a Confederate plaque. They and some other residents are angry over the monument's recent removal by city officials.
Credit Jess Mador / WYSO

City officials cited public safety concerns as a factor in the decision to remove the plaque from the busy intersection.

Officials did not announce in advance that the monument, originally erected by the organization United Daughters of the Confederacy, would be taken down.  

Before its removal, the Dayton group “Showing Up For Racial Justice” had announced plans to protest at the site in remembrance of the victims of recent attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia

Holding a Confederate flag, 41-year-old Robert L. Fisher Jr. says it's important to preserve Confederate monuments, even when they may be seen as offensive by others who oppose what Confederate symbols represent.

More than a dozen people waved Confederate flags and called for the return of a Confederate monument to its historic location on Dixie Highway in the Warren County city of Franklin.
Credit Jess Mador / WYSO

“How will we teach our kids when we no longer have none of our monuments for the history? They’re erasing our history from right beneath our feet," he says.  

"No one’s history should be taken from them, no matter what it is,” says Fisher.

Fisher and other residents say they hope the city of Franklin will hold a meeting to hear public input on the future of the monument.

Fisher is offering his own front yard as a potential new home for the stone.