Dallas filmmaker responds to Marshall City Council voting down slavery reparations resolution

Eric Williams holds a press conference outside of Marshall City Hall.
Eric Williams holds a press conference outside of Marshall City Hall.(KLTV)
Updated: Apr. 23, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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MARSHALL, Texas (KLTV) - After the Marshall City Council failed to pass a resolution concerning slavery reparations Thursday, a Dallas-based political activist and filmmaker who has been working with city leaders on the subject held a press conference in response to the vote.

Eric Williams, producer of the documentary “Finding Miriam” which details the life of one of his ancestors as a slave, said he is disappointed with how the vote went.

“I feel the City of Marshall missed a great opportunity to bridge the gap between the races last night,” Williams said.

Williams wanted to point out details on the vote.

“We had three African-American city councilmen and city councilwoman vote in favor of apologizing for what happened to our ancestors here in Marshall, Texas. However we had four white councilwomen and councilmen vote it down,” Williams said.

However, there was an amended version of the resolution introduced, and the council had to agree to the new version by vote. They then could actually vote to accept or deny the resolution.

A majority of the council voted against the new version, and when the mayor asked for a motion to vote on the original version, no motion was made, so the resolution died.

But Williams said he’s not letting go of the idea of an apology.

“Maybe we need to put an economic pressure on the city of Marshall to get them to do what’s needed. I don’t know what that economic pressure would be, but I’ll be looking in to it,” Williams said.

Williams said he’s going to talk to council again about the matter.

“We want reparations, we want an apology, and we want the statue removed,” Williams said.

The statue in question is the Confederate statue at the historic Harrison County Courthouse in downtown Marshall.

Williams said he will continue to fight for slavery education, preserving slavery records, an apology, and paid reparations to Marshall residents whose ancestors were slaves.

Williams produced a documentary called “Finding Miriam” that details the life of one of his ancestors as a slave.

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