Keep Emma Sansom Statue in Current Location

Keep Emma Sansom Statue in Current Location

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Lillie Shepard started this petition to Gadsden City Council and

We, the citizens of Gadsden and Etowah County, strongly support the preservation of The Emma Sansom Statue and the maintenance of her longstanding location at the entrance to the Etowah County World War 1 Memorial Bridge. While most people know the role that Emma Sansom played in the history of our city, it is clear that by some recent statements the whole truth is not known. Some people would have us think that the historical event that Emma Sansom signifies is no longer a representation of where our town and even our state should be at this current date, but the supporters of this petition would strongly disagree. This statue does not stand to exclude people based on race, religion, or sexual orientation, but actually the complete opposite. This statue stands to represent strength, the strength to do what most would not to protect not only yourself, but also your family and city as well. It stands as a representation of what a true champion should strive to be.

In a 2017 article found in The Messenger, the Vagabond wrote about the story of Emma Sansom in its entirety. Everyone knows the story of how Emma Sansom led General Forrest and his men to a ford at Black Creek so that Forrest could capture the Union army. What most people do not know is the reason behind her actions. According to the Vagabond, during the morning of May 2, 1863, Emma heard the sound of horses approaching her home where she, her mother, sister, and brother were living (her brother was recovering from injuries he received during battle). The people approaching her home were Union soldiers led by General Abel Streight. After searching the farmhouse for weapons and supplies, the Union soldiers took her brother prisoner. The next group to come to the home would be General Forrest and his men and we all know what happened after that point. One would assume that Emma saw this as a chance to not only save her family, but also her brother who had been taken prisoner. She acted in a very courageous manner and in no way were any of her actions focused on slavery or oppression. As a young woman she did what she had to do to protect her family and in the end she not only did that, but also protected her town as well. 

While we understand that some citizens of Gadsden feel that certain monuments are only there to commemorate the Civil War and slavery, that is not the case with this monument. It has been said that this statue and others signify what our future will hold. We strongly disagree with this statement due to the lack of evidence supporting it. Our great city has 3 prestigious members of the city council who are African American and do an amazing job supporting our city and its needs. Until recently we had a President who was African American and continue to add more diversity to the United States House of Representatives and Senate. If the statements being made by some were true then none of these people would have had the chance to do the wonderful things they have done. We as a nation have evolved well past the exclusivity of our ancestors and are better for it, but there is still change that needs to happen. We can accomplish this change and move forward without completely doing away with our history. These monuments can serve as an example to future generations for what not to do and how not to handle certain situations. If we bury our history and all the past mistakes then our future generations will be doomed to repeat them. We can create a place of love and support without burying the history of our great city. 

We are all so proud to call the great city of Gadsden home. Moving the statue is not going to change anything nor will it bring back any of the lives that have been lost. We need to stand up and support our history the way that Emma Sansom stood up for her family and our town and risked her life to preserve it. We all need to pull together and work to save the Emma Sansom statue. In the words of our great City Council President, Cynthia Toles, "only God can change the hearts of men and women." We first need to look inside ourselves and change our own hearts and pray that God can change the hearts of others.    

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