In Testing ‘Southern Heritage’, Some Face the Gun

The Real News spoke to long-time activist WiIllie Hudspeth, who was threatened last week by a white man carrying an AR-15 after Hudspeth called for a confederate statue in Denton, Texas to be placed in a museum

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Story Transcript

HUDSPETH: He was obviously upset. He’s got this weapon on his shoulder. He was just flailing around and moving around really weird–like, and he was really had that look. I just imagine it, it was the look like the guy who did the bombing in the theater. That kind of look. He had it.

SPEAKER: Why is this just now a big deal? Why weren’t you out here months ago?

HUDSPETH: Since 2000 I’ve been out here. Since 2000. I look at your history. Is that–.

SPEAKER: I’ve been here, I’ve been out here every single week for 22 years.

HUDSPETH: I wasn’t here two weeks ago, but I was here on July the 4th.

He said, do you know the history of the Confederate monument and who put it here? Yeah, I know who put it here. It’s on the front. Well, do you know why they did it? Yeah, they’d say it. To honor their soldiers.

I got on my phone to call the police. Well, somebody else had already called and they were pulling up. So that probably helped avoid a real big problem.

My name’s Willie Hudspeth. I’ve been trying to get the county commissioners to agree with me that the monument on the square communicates some things that are negative for my people and me.

This all started when one of the commissioners that was in office suggested that they turn the water back on to the fountains. Then I did a little research and found out no one could drink from the water fountains except white people. The Indians couldn’t, the African-Americans couldn’t, the Hispanics couldn’t. No one but white people could drink from these fountains. So when I heard they were going to turn it back on I said, okay, turn it back on but put a, put something on the monument that communicates why it was that way in the first place.

SPEAKER: Wow.

HUDSPETH: Wait, just, just wait. Just wait. See how [old] he is?

SPEAKER: I have been coming to this [L S N burger] and these places for several years and never even noticed this here. And I’m glad that y’all were here to bring this to my attention so I can admire it and appreciate it and thank God that people were proud enough of our heritage to put this here. This is a blessing. Thank y’all.

SPEAKER: Can I ask a question? Why would you want this moved?

HUSPETH: It reminds me of some negative things that happened in my life.

SPEAKER: That’s what history does.

HUSPETH: So why don’t we put that hangman noose in the gallows right over there, and the cages where they put the women, and the beatings stake where they beat the men? And the part where they dug a ditch and put them in there alive? Why don’t we do that? That’s history, too.

The monument stands as a reminder of historic events, that’s true, and is intended as a memorial to Denton County citizens. Now, that S right there is why I have a problem with that sign. That S. that means me too.

Now, if that’s true why was my people beat to death? I know I would be one of them. When the nine people in, down south that got killed in a church died, that started the thing all up again.

SPEAKER: –after I’m finished. And he–I’m glad you mentioned–I’m glad you mentioned the people that were killed in South Carolina. Nine people that were killed by a man who glorified the Confederacy, glorified the symbolism, just like this town is doing.

HUDSPETH: I’m not advocating, I told the commissioners, that it be destroyed. But I am advocating that it be put in a museum.

It’s kind of like it’s gone underground. It’s there, but it’s not so overt. They don’t just yell out the n-word and raise their first in the air. And they don’t throw things at us and spit at us anymore. They just won’t hire us. It’s like, we’re not going to hire you. We’re going to–we’re going to leave–move to gated communities. Now, you know what gated means? Y’all stay out. That’s what that means.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.