The Oxford Board of Aldermen is challenging the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors over ownership of the Confederate monument on the Square that has long been a point of contention for community members.
In an Aug. 18 letter from the city to the Board of Supervisors, the city claims to have minutes from Board of Alderman and Board of Supervisors meetings that indicate ownership of the monument belongs to the town — not to the county.
The letter cites an 1868 meeting of the Lafayette County Board of Police, which preceded the Board of Supervisors as the governing authority in the county.
“The Board of Police conveyed ‘that portion of the County property known as the Public or the Court Square’ to the governing authorities of the town of Oxford ‘in fee and simple favor,’ and the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen accepted that conveyance,” the letter reads.
The transfer of ownership was agreed upon with the condition that the city give the land back to the county if the Board of Supervisors ever wanted to build a new courthouse. The city of Oxford claims it has no evidence that the county ever asked for the land back before or after the new courthouse was built in 1872.
Oxford community members organized many protests this summer in opposition of the Confederate monument on the Square. The group called itself Take It Down Oxford, and members have continued their protests in front of the monument since June.
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to keep the monument on the Square in early July, but should the city prove ownership of the land, the Oxford Board of Aldermen would be able to hold its own vote on the matter.