Ft. Bend Co. approves moving controversial 'Jaybird' statue

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- A statue that represents a racially-sordid past in Fort Bend County's history will be removed from its spot next to Richmond City Hall.

On Tuesday, the county's commissioner court unanimously approved the city of Richmond's resolution that would move the Jaybird Monument nine miles away to Hodge's Bend Cemetery in Sugar Land.

Under the resolution, the statue, once it's at its new home, will also have a plaque or marker giving historic context. The county is funding the relocation and marker.

In the midst of a summer filled with unrest over racial injustice, the Jaybird Monument has been a target of controversy.

Back in July, ABC13 reported on the initial calls to remove the monument, otherwise known as the "Our Heroes" statue. The Fort Bend History Association said the statue was placed on county land by a private organization. The video above is from our original report on July 15, 2020.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Richmond 'Jaybirds' statue may be moved to new location

That land was taken over by the city of Richmond, but the statue remained.

A history association spokesperson said the monument is controversial because it celebrates a group, the Jaybirds, as heroes. The Jaybirds were one of the groups involved in a bloody battle in 1889 over allowing African-Americans to run for county office on the Republican ticket.

The monument was wrapped in July after a committee comprised of county, city, historical and community members made the decision to cover the statue. At that time, they put out bids to see how much it would cost to be relocated.

Since that time, surveys, reviews and public comment were taken over the movement.

On Wednesday, Richmond City Manager Terri Vela offered a statement on the county's approval to relocate the statue.

"Richmond thrives on being a place where hate and racial prejudices will not be tolerated. The city's goal is to continue to preserve history as an educational gateway, while being sensitive to all the members of our community, of today and tomorrow. No date has been determined of the relocation process," Vela said.

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