“The Square and Monument are not equitable representations of all our citizens.” – Keith Wilkins
Pensacola City Administrator Keith Wilkins has sent a recommendation to Mayor Grover Robinson that called for City Council to approve the removal of the Lee Square Confederate Monument and to give the mayor the authorization to award a contract to implement Council’s approval.
“Under careful consideration and with Pensacola’s collective heritage and historic landscape in mind, staff has determined that Lee Square and the monument does not reflect our current values nor strive to create a more inclusive City,” wrote Wilkins.
“Although the Confederate monument remembers those that lead, fought and died for the Confederacy, it also promotes a post-Reconstruction “Lost Cause” narrative that memorializes a divisive time in American history reflective of “white supremacy” and the Jim Crow era. The Square and Monument are not equitable representations of all our citizens.”
The City Council will consider the recommendation at its special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14 at Pensacola City Hall. The council can accept, reject or amend the recommendation, and Mayor Robinson has the option of vetoing the decision.
Options for Removed Monument:
Relocation options and/or donation considerations for the Confederate monument or portions of the Confederate monument include:
a) Relocate the monument to City storage for the time being.
b) Donate the monument to a historic preservation organization, such as the UWF
c) If the panels are removed, the Perry panel might be donated to the First United
Methodist Church, owner of the Perry Home.
d) Relocation to St. John’s Cemetery. St. John’s Cemetery contains a number of
military internments including those that took part in the Civil War. If fact, Edward Perry whose name is inscribed on the monument’s west face is buried there. While St. John’s Cemetery may appear to be the most historically appropriate placement, careful consideration should be given as to any visual or social impacts to existing burials, statues, and monuments within St. John’s Cemetery as well as to the surrounding community and residents.
e) Partial relocation to Veterans Memorial Park Pensacola. Veterans Memorial Park may be an appropriate location for the Confederate soldier statue portion only. Relocation of the full monument to this park is not advised since the monument’s mass will overpower existing monuments and displays.
f) Relocation to St. Michael’s Cemetery. St. Michael’s Cemetery is a state park and contains several Pensacola’s colonial-period internments. Also, Stephen Mallory who is mentioned on the monument’s north panel is buried here. Since St. Michael’s Cemetery is a historical site unto itself, any out-of-context addition will likely damage the cemetery’s historical integrity.
g) Relocation to Barrancas National Cemetery.Civil War soldiers from both the North and the South are buried here and this may be a historically appropriate area. However, the cemetery is managed by the National Cemetery Administration and the monument will likely not be accepted due to its scale.
Estimated cost for removal: $119,175