Mathews County doubles down on Confederate symbols

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Across the country, some Confederate monuments have been removed from public view after police officers killed George Floyd in 2020. But not in Mathews County.

Last November, in a referendum, voters decided that the monument – which is on county property – would remain in place.

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Now the Supervisory Board takes steps to give this land to two Confederate organizations.

“The council is doing a land survey to map out this land to see how to give it to them. They haven’t made a decision yet,” said Edith Turner, president of the Mathews NAACP.

This week on private property, a Confederate flag was erected with smaller flags surrounding the flagpole. This flag is in view of a local elementary school that once bore the names of two Confederate generals, as well as a nearby college.

The civil rights group says the recent installation is a sign of the times.

The controversy is over opinions and editorial pages of the Gloucester Mathews Gazette-Log.

In a post dated May 5, Turner wrote, “If the land around the statue is passed to these two organizations, we should reasonably expect to see larger and larger Confederate flags in this space.”

Dr. Melissa Mason

A few days later, Citizen Bobby Dobson went on to ask, “Do you think we’re going to let you go on without fighting back?” He concluded by saying “move on and leave things alone, and we’ll get along again.”

10 On Your Side reached out to Dobson to learn more about his stance on the controversy.

Mathews is spending up to $2,000 on the investigation that will be required if the land is donated to two organizations: The Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Board member Dr. Melissa Mason voted for the inquiry but would not say whether she would approve of donating the land known as Court Green to two Confederate organizations.

However, she told 10 on Your Side that the donation issue is creating a divide in the community.

“The situation is hurtful for a group of people,” Mason said. “How can you constantly do something that hurts a group of people?

Mason says a public hearing will be held before the land surrender vote.

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