Portsmouth, Va. - Some say it`s a piece of our history, but for some, it`s a symbol of pain.
“It represents to us centuries of pain and torture and separation to families and all of the things slaves went through,” says Toiya Sosa of the United Council for Equality.
They are joining together with other civil rights groups demanding for removal of the Confederate Monument in downtown Portsmouth.
They are asking for it to be put in a museum instead.
According to the National Register of Historic Places, construction of the 35-foot monument began in 1867 and represented the confederate`s branches – artillery, infantry, navy and cavalry. It has the dates of the civil war engraved at the middle. Sosa believes it`s dividing the city.
That is one of the reasons why the group rallied and then took a petition to city council.
At a ground breaking event in the city Tuesday morning, we caught up with the city`s mayor - Kenny Wright and city Councilman Bill Moody. Both men have very different opinions on whether the statue can stay or go.
“I think it needs to stay right where it is,” says Moody.
“You got people that want it to go and I`m one of those people,” says Mayor Wright. “It truly is a symbol of hate, racism, division, slavery and all of those horrible things that happened during that period.
“I consider it a really grave mark of the many of those who lost their lives during the war. I`m a native of Portsmouth. As young as a little kid, I can remember driving by that monument, so it`s part of our history; you don`t undo history,” says Moody.
During the city council meeting on Tuesday night, things became heated as residents voiced their opinions about the removal of the monument.
One woman was kicked out of the meeting.