Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Epperson's Continued Attack on the Confederate Monument

Commissioner Ken Epperson and Lady Justice
Caddo Commission member Ken Epperson has a guest column in The Shreveport Times today - as of this writing it isn't on the website that I can find, but it is in the print edition.

You may recall that Mr. Epperson is attempting to have the Confederate Monument removed that stands in front of the courthouse on land given to the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1903.  I attended the Caddo Commission committee meeting when this was discussed and wrote about it here.  You can watch the video of that meeting here.  If you just want to skip to Mr. Epperson's wandering, profanity laced tirade at the end, it starts at about 1:20 in the video.

In today's column, Mr. Epperson still contends that the monument is located on Caddo Parish Courthouse property, ignoring the 1903 donation by the Caddo Parish Police Jury in which the land was given to the UDC.  He writes:
"This should settle the issue, the Confederate monument is placed illegally on Caddo Parish's property and should be removed immediately by the owners. I am not looking to suppress history only to put it in it's proper place."
He contends that the debate about the monument so far has been "lots of rhetoric, most of which is not factual, but just emotional and misleading comments by the proponents of keeping the monument in place."

Only two people spoke to move the monument at the Committee meeting, beside Mr. Epperson.  Two dozen spoke to keep it.

The bulk of his article is the text of a title search done in 2002 which actually found no deed whatsoever on the property.  Apparently Caddo Parish doesn't even own it.

Historian Gary Joiner noted at the Caddo Commission committee meeting that any attempt to move the monument would likely be tied up in courts for years as ownership of the land is debated and it would open "a can of worms."  He suggests if anyone owns the land it would be the heirs of Indian interpreter Larkin Edwards who was given large chunks of land by the Caddo Indians.

In related news, Mr. Epperson had his portrait removed from the wall of the courthouse, stating that its presence there indicates that he agrees with everything that goes on there.  He wants his picture and name replaced with that of Lady Justice, a request which was honored this week. Before and after pictures can be seen here:
Ken Epperson’s is serving his 20th year as Commissioner in Caddo Parish. This morning his photo was removed from the Caddo Parish Courthouse, at his request. Commissioner Epperson says, “My picture up there now represents that I agree with everything that goes on on that particular ground and I do not.” Epperson gave an ultimatum before having his picture replaced with Lady Justice, asking for the confederate monument outside of the courthouse to be removed or remove his photo from inside the courthouse. Officials chose the latter and removed Epperson’s photo this morning. 
The Caddo Parish Commission Long Range Special Projects Committee will form a sub-committee at a later date to debate the monument issue.

Meanwhile, Mr. Epperson will remain on the Caddo Commmission, apparently now representing the voice of justice.

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