Activists protest in Marshall County commissioner’s neighborhood, demanding removal of Confederate flag

Racial Justice Movement

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – Protests continue in Marshall County as an activist group pushes for the removal of the Confederate flag outside the courthouse in Albertville.

Say Their Names Alabama members changed things up Wednesday after feeling their demands are still being ignored by county commissioners.

They marched and chanted through Marshall County commissioner Joey Baker’s Albertville neighborhood.

They were there until dusk before returning to the Marshall County courthouse in Albertville to continue the protest there.

Earlier in the day, around eight members held a sit-in at Neena’s Courthouse Grill in the bottom floor of the courthouse in Guntersville.

Afterwards, around 4 p.m., they moved to the courthouse in Albertville for the bi-weekly protest where they chanted and drew with chalk on the sidewalk.

Members of the local chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans were also at the courthouse in Albertville with Confederate flags of their own counter-protesting.

They have told News 19 in the past that the Confederate flag and monuments represent their heritage. Not hate or racism.

A few Confederacy supporters at the protest were wiping away the chalk art created by Say Their Names Alabama members.

They eventually got their own chalk and scribbled out the activist group’s chalk art.

Around 5:30, Say Their Names Alabama members made a bold statement by marching and chanting in commissioner Joey Baker’s neighborhood.

It was the first time the group has ever done that in Albertville.

Members said they will continue protesting in various ways here regardless of media coverage until theConfederate flag is removed.

Commission chairman James Hutcheson said  in the three months of protests, the commission has been all ears.

“I know it’s a sensitive issue. We have strong feelings on both sides. We have listened to people and are listening to people,” said Hutcheson.

However, there has been no action.

“It hadn’t been put on the agenda, hadn’t been requested from commissioners to put it on the agenda,” explained Hutcheson.

He told News 19 he could bring it up for discussion, but would rather a commissioner do so.

“We’re going to keep showing up until somebody brings it up. the chairman just doesn’t want to bring it up because he’s a coward just like the other commissioners,” said Say Their Names leader Unique Dunston.

Action is on the way, though.

Hutcheson is having a wrought-iron fence installed e around the monuments and flag.

“The Sheriff suggested we put something around the monument to keep people from climbing on it……the issue is a safety issue, I’ve seen kids playing on it and climbing on it. It’s a safety issue and appearance issue, makes it look a lot better and a lot neater,” explained Hutcheson.

He said plans have been in place to install the fence before the protests began.

Dunston does not believe Hutcheson.

“The fence is just a tactic they’re using.The monument has been there since 2005, they weren’t concerned about kids falling then. also kids don’t go to monuments to play,” said Dunston.

The three to four-foot tall fence costs between $2,500 and $3,000 and should be installed in the next couple of weeks.

The Confederate monument in Huntsville was recently removed.

Dunston hopes Marshall County will follow the Rocket City’s lead.

But she told News 19 that change takes time.

“They kept showing up to all commission and council meetings and protesting, they did whatever it took and it worked, so we’re going to do whatever it takes as well,” explained Dunston.

She said they are willing to wait.

“I have a list of 200 direct actions that are nonviolent so we can do this every year, all year if we need to. it’s all dependent on them,” added Dunston.

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