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Published On: Sat, Jun 24th, 2017

Confederate monument in Tampa will stay put, commission votes to add ‘diversity mural’

After three hours of contentious debate, Hillsborough County commissioners voted 4-3 on Wednesday to keep a Confederate monument outside the old county courthouse in downtown Tampa.

Commissioners Victor Crist, Ken Hagan, Sandy Murman and Stacy White, all Republicans, were in the majority. The board’s other Republican, Commissioner Al Higginbotham, joined Democrats Pat Kemp and Les Miller in advocating for its removal.

The movement to remove the monument is part of this wave to strike down and erase away remnants of the Civil War and the politicians attempted to find a compromise.

Instead of moving the monument, the commissioners want to paint a 10-foot high mural behind it that will pay homage to the county’s diversity. They may also start an education program to address what Murman described as a racism problem in the community.

“No matter what we do today, if we don’t look for consensus, there’s going to be hatred and anger that could last for decades,” said Crist, who suggested the mural.

The main entrance to Hillsborough County’s Courthouse in Tampa, Florida, is shown with the county’s Confederate Memorial in the foreground. photo/ TampAGS, for AGS Media

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has voiced his opposition to the monument.

“There is no honor in treason and there is no valor in enslaving people because of their race. That statue represents the worst of humanity not the Tampa that we aspire to be. This decision doesn’t speak for our city and the people that I represent.”
The vote comes a day after Orlando moved a statute called “Johnny Reb” from a park downtown to historic Greenwood Cemetery.
In May, the Alachua County Commission voted 4-1 to donate a statue known as “Old Joe” in downtown Gainesville to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the group that dedicated the statute in 1904.
Miller, the panel’s lone black member, thought Tampa’s time had come, too and says Wednesday’s vote was a “slap in the face.”
“This monument was erected because of the mere fact that the South wanted to remember ancestors who fought to keep my ancestors in slavery,” he said. “They talk about those Confederate soldiers being veterans but you’ve got to realize they turned their backs on this country and they lost. It’s treason.”
“It will continue to be divisive in this community,” Miller said. “More now than ever before.”

 

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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