New resolution introduced to remove Andrew Jackson statues from courthouse grounds

Published: Jun. 12, 2023 at 7:17 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2023 at 3:08 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - There is a renewed push to remove two Andrew Jackson statues from the grounds of Jackson County courthouses in downtown Kansas City and Independence, Missouri.

On Monday, the resolution for removal was sent to the budget committee. The issue could go before the full Jackson County Legislature for a vote as early as next week.

In 2020, during the protest movement following the death of George Floyd, vandals defaced the Andrew Jackson statue outside of the downtown Kansas City courthouse. A large tarp then covered the statue.

That same year, 59% of voters rejected a countywide vote to remove the Andrew Jackson statues from courthouse grounds.

In July of 2021, a plaque was added to the statue to provide context. It said, in part: “Jackson’s ownership of slaves and his support of the Indian Removal Act are part of his history. The Act forced Native Americans from their home territories so that white settlers could live there and triggered the Trail of Tears, a 1,000-mile march resulting in the death of thousands, including an estimated one-quarter of the Cherokee Nation.”

A resolution introduced by Jackson County 1st District Legislator Manny Abarca calls for the county executive to award a contract to remove the downtown statue and a smaller one outside of the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence.

Abarca said county leaders have been in touch with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage homestead and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum to see if they would like to store the statues if removal is approved by the legislature.

The homestead, however, told KCTV5 it had not been contacted.

“As I’m talking to several different populations, specifically in my district, folks have said that it is an atrocity that Jackson still stands as a celebratory monument in front of the county courthouse where people are supposed to be seeking justice and relief,” Abarca said. “You have a man who was not just and did not provide much relief for a lot of populations during his time. The time is now 2023. We should be reckoning with these pasts and starting to move forward in a different direction.”

If approved by the Jackson County Legislature, the county executive would be authorized to award contracts for removal, storage and any site repairs for damage caused by removal.