A Hillsboro man with family ties to the Hillsboro Marching Mothers school integration case of the 1950s appeared before the Highland County commissioners Wednesday to propose an additional tribute to the mothers on the courthouse square.
Shawn Captain, one of the organizers of a Black Lives Matter protest and demonstration in June, presented commissioners Gary Abernathy and Terry Britton with a graphic art representation of a memorial bench that would honor the local women who marched for integration of the Hillsboro City Schools and won their case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Commission president Jeff Duncan was physically absent from Wednesday’s meeting but appeared via video link and abstained from voting, having voluntarily quarantined after several family members displayed symptoms of COVID-19.
“After the march, I had people that came up to me that said they had lived in Hillsboro their whole life and had never heard of the Lincoln School marchers,” Captain said. “And I got the idea for a memorial of some kind and it’s a bench.”
He said his grandmother, Lois Captain, attended the Lincoln School that was designated for black elementary students at the time.
“I had talked with the mayor about doing a fundraiser,” Shawn Captain said. “And when he heard what we were fundraising for, he decided to just donate the bench.”
Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha’s office confirmed that he would be donating the money to fund Captain’s memorial bench concept.
Captain said he consulted with other parties about what the bench would depict and presented his concept art to the commissioners. The art shows a black granite bench adjacent to the fountain.
Laser engraved on the bench was a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., in addition to a pair of pictures of the Lincoln School Marching Mothers and Marching Children and the names of the participants.
“I think it would look a lot better on the courthouse square,” Captain said. “I think it’s just as deserving as the other monuments to be on the courthouse square. It’s a huge part of American history, and to come from a small town like Hillsboro, it’s really significant.”
Abernathy pointed out that Hillsboro’s “Marching Mothers” and their children were inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame in Columbus in 2017, calling it a “part of our history that we should honor, remember and learn from.”
Both commissioners moved that the tribute monument bench be allowed to be placed on the courthouse square, and that they would work with both the city and Harsha to coordinate the necessary efforts.
In other matters, Britton reported that he received preliminary non-automotive sales tax data from the Ohio Department of Taxation showing that Highland County was up 30 percent over last year.
“It never ceases to amaze me,” he said. “Our Highland County people are obviously buying local, and as I’ve said, that is great.”
Window replacement continues on the Highland County Administration Building with Britton commenting that the treasurer’s office was “in a state of demolition” with the installation of temporary boarding where windows would be re-installed.
Commissioners approved a motion to install four temporary windows until the new, permanent windows can be installed.
Six county entities filed for reimbursement or expenditures related to COVID-19, which auditor Bill Fawley said would come from the S-22 COVID account:
• County Engineer: $461 for purchases of personal protective equipment.
• Highland County commissioners and other county offices: $670 for cleaning and installation of hand sanitizing stations at the Highland County Courthouse, and supplies at other county buildings.
• Highland County Sheriff’s office: $7,476 for installation of barrier protection at the main window for conceal carry licensing and background checks.
• Clerk of Courts office: $9.63 reimbursement direct to Dwight “Ike” Hodson for the purchase of wipes at the onset of the pandemic.
• Administration building and courthouse: $17,430 for permanent office shields in both facilities. These would replace the temporary shields now in place with a higher quality glass that would provide a higher degree of security and could be cleaned more effectively.
Also Wednesday, three line item budget transfer resolutions were approved in addition to an inter-county agreement for the release of funding between the Highland and Preble County Job and Family Services offices.
Another resolution authorized county engineer Chris Fauber to purchase a new tractor and rotary cutter for a price not to exceed $47,961.
A One Home Program/Homeowner Written Agreement was executed between the commissioners and Marva Captain, which Britton said was through the Highland County Community Action Organization.
A change order was executed concerning a contract for road resurfacing on Storer Lane.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.