The Inevitable Confederate Monument Question

by Jeremy Morrison, Inweekly

As Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson spoke to protesters at Graffiti Bridge on Saturday, an inevitable question was shouted from the crowd: “What about the statue in Lee Square?!”

As protesters nationwide bring attention to police violence against African-American people following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer, the question arises, again, of how best to address the countless monuments — many of them in the Southeast — that pay tribute to the Confederacy. Activists, such as those associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, have long contended they glorify a racist past and should come down.

A number of such monuments were removed following a 2016 gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, during which an individual protesting the event was run over by an attendee’s vehicle and killed. And now more local governments are choosing to remove, usually under cover of night, more monuments. Nearby, in Mobile, Ala., a statue of Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes was recently removed.

Although Mayor Robinson did not address the issue during his appearance at Saturday’s protest, he did talk about the issue during an interview with Inweekly later in the afternoon.

“If the confederate monument comes down, does racism stop? No,” the mayor said.

While Robinson said that he “understand[s] the challenges of what the monument means,” “would love to find a way to deal with our symbols and do it responsibly,” and was “going to give it some thought,” he didn’t appear inclined to remove the statue from downtown.

“We’re going to try to figure out what we need to do up there on the top of the hill on Palafox,” Mayor Robinson said. “I do believe the statue as it stands currently, on its own, is hindering us.”

In 2016, then-mayor Ashton Hayward indicated during a radio interview that he wanted to see the monument come down. He later walked the comments back, clarifying that it wasn’t his unilateral move to make.

Four years later, the Confederate monument sill overlooks downtown Pensacola from its perch atop the obelisk in Lee Square.

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6 thoughts on “The Inevitable Confederate Monument Question

  1. The media, the Democratic Party, the liberals have had contempt for the people of the South for many years.

    This is their Totalitarian Moment – their use of Charlottesville to bludgeon the American people into silence on the true nature of the Antifa protesters.

    Seems to me like a highly orchestrated propaganda effort.

    As a side note— Did you hear the joke about the cure for Covid-19?
    It’s a riot…

  2. I would rather the statues stay as I don’t believe we need to relegate things to a closet that makes someone else feel uncomfortable and I also think, to me, they simply represent something else, evocative of a congenial southern past imprinted such as Grandmother, and home made ice cream, grits, and a good ole southern drawl coming home from abroad growing up, When we look at the statue in Lee square it reminds my spouse of going there for lunch before the school burned down there and other fond memories, with no political leaning at all. -However:

    I believe IF it’s time to remove these statues to the Confederacy, it is also time to remove affirmative action and special entitlements for minorities. Extreme black identity politics attempts to gain an advantage for one race — which IS the epitome of racism. Utilizing our money to give one race an advantage over the other, in the guise of a victimization policy is wrong. That time IS over. All people in America are already free and not oppressed and have been for some time, under the law.

    As we approach Flag Day we need to remember our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, AND TO THE REPUBLIC, FOR WHICH IT STANDS, One Nation, Under God INDIVISIBLE with liberty and justice for all.

    It is time to drop the “African” American moniker also. We are Americans.

    To continually feed into the oppression/ victimization theme is simply an excuse to attempt to gain moral ground and is actually a ruse to get entitlements– an advantage and special treatment.

    The advantages gained since the civil right era in the sixties have been in place for a while. If people haven’t taken advantage of it, the only people they need to blame is the ones who have not. We need to lay down the yoke and extreme black identity politics.

    To truly respect a person, we don’t need to buy into the idea that they are inferior and need special protections, they don’t.

    If the statues leave the square so does the tolerance and desire for the entitlement mindset.

    It’s over. I am free and I am not oppressed. I am a citizen of the United States of America.

  3. In America in 2020, there are still over 1,880 Confederate statues, monuments and representations in most of the fifty states and the District of Columbia in public places, and names of government buildings, schools, roads and highways, natural features and recreational areas, ships, flags, stamps, coins and the like. Most of the statues and monuments went up during the Jim Crow era from 1877 to the mid-1950s. The top 10 states with the most Confederate statues and monuments still standing are: Virginia 223, Texas 180, Georgia 174, North Carolina 140, Mississippi 131, South Carolina 112, Louisiana 91, Tennessee 70, Arkansas 57, Kentucky 56.

    While I think that we need to pull down every single monument to that Indian-Killer Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson and all his ilk, and soon, we need to disassemble the Confederacy first, and finally. In 2017, the governor of Maine said, “Taking down Confederate figures is just like removing a monument to the people who died in the 9/11 attacks.” I confess that I wasn’t paying much attention to the removal of Confederate statues then, but I am now. The governor of Maine was wrong. And those 1,880 Confederate statues, monuments and representations are wrong, too. They should be sequestered somewhere, like Robert E. Lee’s house in Arlington Cemetery, with a caveat: “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare ….”

  4. If my newspaper was in Greenville, I would write the same thing. Shelby Foote admired Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the KKK, and grew up with black nurses and maids that took care of him until he was 18. He was a believer in the Lost Cause and longed for the days of white supremacy in the South. He probably wouldn’t be happy with me.

  5. Have they taken down all memories of the Confederacy from your hometown in Mississippi, Rick?

    And I wonder what Shelby Foote’s thoughts would be.

  6. Bring down the statue, change the name of the back to it’s original Florida Square moniker before the Racist Southerners co-opted the park as a monument to remind people of color who runs this town.

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