Long after death, Confederate spy honored in Ark.

Associated Press Modified: October 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm •  Published: October 14, 2012
Advertisement
;

And it's caught on, though many question why.

"It's a very sad story, but at the end of the day, Dodd was spying for the Confederacy, which was fighting a war to defend the institution of slavery," said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Sharon Donovan — who lives on West David O. Dodd Road (there's an East David O. Dodd Road, too) — said she wouldn't mind another Dodd namesake in her neighborhood.

"The fact that we live in the South, I could understand why he would want to do it because he was actually working for us in a way. ... For that era, I think it was probably a noble thing to do," Donovan said.

About a half-mile away, a banner outside an elementary school proclaims, "David O. Dodd Committed to Excellence." A doormat bearing Dodd's name shows a black boy smiling next to a few white ones. About half of the school's 298 students last year were black and only 27 were white.

Jerry Hooker, who graduated from Central High School years after the desegregation standoff over the Little Rock Nine, lives at the site where he says Dodd was detained almost a century and a half ago. The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission approved his application and agreed to chip in $1,000 for the marker noting the spot's historical significance.

Hooker, 59, said the move to commemorate Dodd is not about honoring slavery, but about remembering the past.

"I don't think it has a thing to do with race whatsoever," Hooker said. "He was a 17-year-old kid with a coded message in his boot that had enough of whatever it is in him that he didn't squeal on his sources."

Still, in a city that stripped "Confederate Blvd." from its interstate highway signs shortly before dignitaries arrived in town for the opening of Bill Clinton's presidential library, the question remains: Should Dodd's name be etched into another piece of stone or metal for posterity's sake?

"There are currently more monuments to David O. Dodd than any other war hero in Arkansas," Potok said. "You would think that at some point it would be enough."

___

Follow Jeannie Nuss at http://twitter.com/jeannienuss