Another public interest victory for common sense and healing in St. Augustine.
Prof. Tracy Upchurch mentioned my April 13, 2018 suggestion of another sculpture relating to the monument to General William Wing Loring. I had suggested a sculpture of civil rights heroes Stetson Kennedy, Dr. Robert S. Hayling, D.D.S. and Barbara Vickers sitting on a park bench together, looking at the Loring monument, as if contemplating the progress we've made since 1865.
Kudos to the University of Florida's St. Augustine board for its thoughtful deliberations.
Proud of Jill Pacetti, candidate for City Commission seat being vacated by "ODD TODD" NEVILLE, for her common sense approach to healing.
Ms. Pacetti organized opposition to the demand to remove two monuments to Civil War veterans. Her view prevailed before City Commission and the University of Florida -- two unanimous votes in 2017 and 2018.
Our history and nature must be preserved and protected and not neglected.
Yes we can!
Here's Jill Pacetti from a Facebook with the Southern Magnolia blossom that I gave her the morning of the UF decision:
Here's the St. Augustine Record article on our latest public interest victory here:
UF: Loring monument stays
By Sheldon Gardner
Posted Jun 6, 2018 at 12:08 PM
Updated Jun 8, 2018 at 5:19 AM
St. Augustine Record
A memorial to a Confederate general that bears the image of a Confederate flag in one of St. Augustine’s most prominent places will remain there, a University of Florida board decided on Wednesday.
The UF Historic St. Augustine board, which is tasked with caring for state-owned properties in St. Augustine, decided unanimously at a board meeting in the city to leave the memorial to William Loring’s life unaltered and unmoved. They had 13 options as discussion items, including removing the monument and promoting educational programs about the civil rights movement.
Board member Bill Proctor said the board’s mission is to interpret history not to judge it. He said the board should leave the monument alone and avoid political debate.
“We get into real shaky, muddy ground when we leave our mission, and our mission is simply to reveal history, educate people about history and not make judgments,” he said.
Instead of changing the monument, the board plans to add another feature to the surrounding park, which is on state land.
The monument to Confederate Gen. William Loring is shown in downtown St. Augustine. [PETER WILLOTT/THE RECORD]
The point of the added feature, the details of which have yet to be decided, is to share another perspective. Board officials plan to consult with the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center and others to help shape the site.
The move marked another major development in a lengthy community debate about what should be done with Confederate-related monuments.
The city of St. Augustine decided in 2017 to keep its Plaza de la Constitucion memorial to local soldiers who served in the Confederacy and died away from home. The city also decided to have a committee of historians and others decide what to add to the site for context — that effort is probably about a month or two away from a decision, committee Chair Thomas Jackson said Wednesday morning. Jackson spoke to the board about the committee’s efforts.
UF officials waited for the city of St. Augustine to decide the fate of the Plaza memorial before beginning a discussion about what to do with the Loring monument.
Both debates have brought forth strong opinions from people, some of whom believe the monuments should be preserved or who believe the monuments should be removed because of their connection to slavery.
Board member and archaeologist Kathy Deagan said she has questioned why Loring was chosen to be honored in such a prominent place instead of other well-known people who are connected to St. Augustine.
Board member Herschel Shepard, a well-known architect with historic preservation experience, said he does not want any physical aspect of the Loring memorial changed, though he would support adding something else to the area. He said the fact that the memorial is to a major figure in St. Augustine overshadows the fact that part of the monument can be interpreted in different ways.
“I can’t control the fact that people see that Confederate flag on the side of that monument and wish to interpret that as a dedicated monument to the Confederacy -- I don’t interpret it that way,” he said.
At Wednesday’s meeting, about a dozen people were in the audience.
For military veteran and St. Johns County resident Hugh Washington, speaking at the meeting was a chance to share a perspective that people might not have considered, he said.
He said Loring spent only a small portion of his military career serving the Confederacy.
Loring was born in North Carolina and grew up in St. Augustine. He joined a militia at 14 years old and had a long military career that included fighting in Second Seminole War and serving in the Egyptian Army, James Cusick, curator of UF’s P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, said in March.
”[Loring] was an extremely prominent citizen who happened to have served four years in the Confederate Army. ... This is a historically fascinating son of St. Augustine. To remove [the memorial] would be a loss for this historic city’s history,” Washington said.
Jackson said a balanced story should be told at the site, such as information about prominent Africans who lived in St. Augustine. The Loring memorial bears the image of a Confederate flag, and Jackson said the flag brings up negative emotions for some people.
“It’s a sense of intimidation. I think that particular flag being on that monument has brought forth that feeling from a lot of folks,” he said.