Sunday, February 21, 2016

Murderer's Capitol Statue Out, Murdered Moores to Replace It?

Born in St. Augustine, controversial Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith ordered the murder of African-American prisoners of war.  He was later math and botany professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and is buried there.

This war criminal's statue was placed in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall in 1922 by the KKK-dominated Florida legislature.

On February 11, 2016, the Florida State Senate voted 33-7 to enact SB 310, removing the Smith statue. It  provides for recommendations by January 1, 2017 of three people for the legislature to consider as replacements. Republican Florida State Senators Aaron Bean (Jacksonville), Charles S. Dean, Sr. (Inverness) Gregory Evers (Okaloosa), Donald Gaetz (Destin), D. Allen Hays (Ocala), Thomas Lee (Hillsborough) and Joseph Negron (Stuart) voted against the bill.

On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, the Florida House of Representatives is set to vote on its special order calendar to pass SB 310, removing that statue.

As I wrote on June 24, 2015:

On December 25, 1951, KKK murdered two NAACP organizers, Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Harriette Moore on Christmas Day (her birthday) by bomb under their bedroom in Mims, Florida. The Moores worked for equal pay for African-American teachers, registered 100,000 African-Americans to vote, and exposed Sheriff-involved murders of African-Amercans. From 1943 until his death, Harry Moore investigated every single lynching in the State of Florida. The Moores are profiled in a PBS documentary, "Freedom Never Dies."

My mentor Stetson Kennedy's last wish -- expressed to his wife, Sandra Parks -- was that Stetson's friends, the Moores, be remembered and honored.

Here's what we need to do: Our State of Florida Legislature urgently needs to put a statue of Harry and Harriette Moore in the Capitol's Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., withdrawing the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, who murdered black Union Army prisoners of war during the Civil War. Each state gets two statues: none are of African-Americans (although Rosa Parks is represented by joint Congressional resolution). Four states changed their statues (California, Kansas, Michigan and Arizona added statues of Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Barry Goldwater).

The Joint Committee on the Library of Congress has jurisdiction and its procedures are here: We'd need a waiver for two people on one statue (North Dakota already has Sakajawa with her baby on her back).

Thus, America would honor the Moores, who were indefatigable in defense of Florida civil rights. Cost of removing and relocating the General Edmund Kirby Smith statue and replacing it with a suitable statue of Harry and Harriette T. Moore could exceed $100,000. That's "an easy burden." It will promote healing. It's up to us. 

Ed Slavin
Box 3084
St. Augustine, Florida 32085-3084


Removal of Confederate statue approved

Headline Goes Here
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With supporters saying Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith is not the best person to represent Florida, the state Senate on Thursday approved a plan to replace a statue of Smith at the U.S. Capitol.
Each state is allowed two statues in the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall, and Florida has long been represented by statues of Smith and John Gorrie, widely considered the father of air conditioning.
Senators voted 33-7 on Thursday to approve a bill (SB 310) that would start a process to replace the Smith statue.
Under that process, a committee would recommend three prominent Floridians as potential replacements, and the Legislature would pick one whose statue would be placed in the hall.
The bill drew debate Wednesday on the Senate floor, though it passed quietly Thursday.
Sponsor John Legg, R-Trinity, recounted taking students to the U.S. Capitol in 1999 and receiving questions about why Smith's statue represented Florida.
"We should find a way to preserve history but yet place someone at the Capitol that may be more reflective of, I believe, the values that we hold dear in this state," Legg said Wednesday.
But Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, questioned the removal of the statue of the Civil War general.
"Help me understand how that would not fall in the category of revisionist history,'' Hays said.
A House version of the bill (HB 141), filed by Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, has been approved by three committees and is ready for the House floor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our only duty to history is to re-write it....or history is always written by the winners of the culture wars?