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Opposition Mounts To Possible Removal Of Tampa Confederate Statue

The statue stands at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa.

The Confederate Solider's Monument has silently stood guard outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa since 1911, with one soldier facing north to the enemy, another with its head drooped low facing the defeated homeland.

But if County Commissioner Les Miller has his way, it could soon be removed. He said during a recent interview that he would like to see it placed in a museum.

Several people spoke Wednesday at the public comment portion of the Hillsborough County Commission meeting  in favor of keeping the Confederate War memorial where it stands.

Donny McCurry of Riverview said he's a descendent of Confederate veterans. He  spoke next to his grandsons.

"Remember, these lost souls are our family," he told commissioners. "An attack on our heritage is a direct attack on my grandfathers and the grandfathers of children, just like Jordan and Malachi. Let that lead your hearts and minds to do the right thing, and say no to the purge of our history."

His comments were echoed by Gail Jessie of Lakeland, who said she's descended from Civil War veterans.

"If one war memorial is offensive to an individual or a body of individuals, then at some time in history, all will be offensive," she said.

Commissioner Miller has asked the county attorney to look into the legality of moving the statue. Even though it's at the entrance to the county courthouse, the memorial is on land owned by the city of Tampa.

He told WFLA Channel 8 he plans to contact the Daughters of the Confederacy to see if they would like to take the memorial back. If the group can’t afford to have the memorial removed, Miller said he plans to ask the Tampa Bay History Center if they will take the monument.

The move comes after several Confederate statues were removed from New Orleans, at night to prevent large demonstrations.

Credit State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
The monument in its original location in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse


Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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