Friday, June 26, 2015

Letter: Florida needs a new remembrance of healing in Washington, D.C. -- Florida needs a statue of healing

Letter: Florida needs an new rembrance of healing in Washington, D.C.
Florida needs a statue of healing
Posted: June 25, 2015 - 6:12pm
St. Augustine Record
Florida needs a statue of healing

Editor: On Christmas Day, 1951, nearly 54 years ago, KKK murdered two NAACP organizers, Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Harriette Moore by bomb under their bedroom in Mims, Florida. It was Harriette’s birthday. The Moores worked for equal pay for African-American teachers, registered 100,000 Florida African-Americans to vote, and exposed Sheriff-involved murders. 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.

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. We’d need a waiver for two people on one statue (North Dakota already has Sakakawea with her baby on her back).

Thus, America would honor the Moores, who were indefatigable in defense of Florida civil rights.

The 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.

St. Augustine

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