Despite county residents voting to keep the monuments up, two statues of former President Andrew Jackson will be removed from a Missouri county named after him. The city officials of Jackson County have decided to remove the statues outside courthouses in Independence and Kansas City, following a 7-1 vote by the Jackson County Legislature. This decision was made despite a previous ruling to let residents vote on the fate of the statues in a ballot initiative in November 2020.
In the county’s ballot initiative, a majority of over 72% of county residents have voted against the proposal to remove the statues of Jackson, who served as president from 1829-1837. Therefore, the statues will be kept.
“I remain committed in my belief that the statues of a man who…caused thousands of Native Americans to [become deceased] and never stepped foot in our County should be removed from our public facilities,” said County Executive Frank White after the November vote.
The statues of Jackson, who is known for leading the American triumph at the Battle of New Orleans against the British in the War of 1812, can be found at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City and the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence.
The Jackson County Historical Society reports that the county was established on December 15, 1826 and named after Jackson – a former U.S. senator from Tennessee who gained national attention following the Battle of New Orleans. As of 2021, a plaque was added to the statue acknowledging Martin Luther King Jr.
“This statue of Jackson reminds us we are on a path that, in the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr., bends towards justice. In turn, we must acknowledge past injustices to help us create a greater nation built upon humane policies to light our way and the way of humanity everywhere,” the plaque read.
In recent years, vandals have targeted the sculptures. They will be taken away and stored by the city following the county legislature’s decision.