Friday, December 01, 2017

St. Augustine’s Confederate monument context group is developing, and so are plans for protest (SAR)

Let the healing continue. Encourage people to apply before December 29, 2017 3 PM deadline. It's up to us.

St. Augustine’s Confederate monument context group is developing, and so are plans for protest

PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM A sign stands in front of the Confederate monument on the Plaza de la Constitucion in St. Augustine on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, telling of the city’s plans to add historical context to the site.

As of Wednesday afternoon, eight people had applied to help the city of St. Augustine add context to its Confederate monument.

The city plans to establish the committee to bring a more complete Civil War history to its monument in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Meanwhile, a local minister is standing by his demand that both monuments in the public square be removed.

“I don’t really trust the process of contextualization. … It’s wrong to honor people who were traitors and honor the system of slavery,” said the Rev. Ron Rawls, who recently organized a protest of the monuments.

One monument, controlled by the city, remembers 44 men who served the Confederacy. A University of Florida-controlled monument on the western end of the public square bears the image of a Confederate flag and honors Confederate Gen. William Loring and his service in other conflicts — it’s also where his ashes are buried.

The City Commission voted in October to keep its monument after hearing hours of testimony at two meetings, and after research into other issues such as the cost of removing the city’s monument. They also decided to create a seven-member committee to help provide context to the site.

The deadline to apply for the panel is 3 p.m. on Dec. 29, and participants don’t have to be city residents, according to city documents.

Others beside the eight applicants (see Sidebar) have expressed interest in the committee but hadn’t filed an application as of Wednesday afternoon, according to city documents.

City Manager John Regan said he expects to have recommendations on the candidates to city commissioners for a decision no earlier than their meeting on Jan. 22.

As the city pushes ahead with the committee, Rawls said he is planning his next moves.

Rawls, pastor at St. Paul AME Church in St. Augustine, led a protest of the monuments during Light-Up! Night — the city’s kickoff to its annual Nights of Lights event — on Nov. 18. He said he believes the city has not truly listened to his concerns and those of other African-Americans, despite two public meetings.

Before Light-Up! Night, Regan had the city post a sign in front of its monument describing their effort to add a more fleshed-out Civil War history to the site.

“I just wanted to make sure that the community and people that look at the monument know that this is a work in progress, that we’re not ignoring any issues, that we’re following through with what the commission approved,” Regan said.

Rawls said he plans to announce his “next steps” via Facebook this weekend. While he won’t protest nonprofit events, he said plans to protest more city-backed events and draw outside attention to the city.

“We’re going to continue on with that show,” Rawls said. “We’re going to take advantage of events that are sponsored by the city to show guests and people on the outside what we feel is a truer picture of St. Augustine.”

According to applications provided to the City of St. Augustine, candidates seeking to be part of a committee that will help add context to the city’s Confederate monument thus far include:

• Stephen Danner, a military sales manager at Acrow Bridge Corporation of America.

• Thomas Graham, an author and retired Flagler College history professor.

• Marty Lewis, who served on “the original formative board” for the state park at the site of Fort Mose, a settlement of freed slaves in the St. Augustine area, and was part of the site’s historical society.

• George Linardos, a retired attorney.

• Kenneth Maass, a retired educator who taught social studies and American history at St. Augustine High School.

• Jill Pacetti, an office manager and bookkeeper who is related to Eusibio Pacetti, one of the men listed on the Plaza’s Confederate monument.

• James Willow, a Vietnam veteran who has “studied both sides of the Civil War.”

• Andrew Witt, executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council.

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Pamela Vandiver Stanford
Can this guy go away already back to where he came from. Why doesn’t he help a country that STILL has slavery??? Instead of living in the past here?!?!
LikeReply618 hrs
Marshell Carnage
Perhaps you can return to where you came from, Europe could use the population boost.
LikeReply316 hrs
Pamela Vandiver Stanford
Marshell Carnage LOL really that was an intelligent comment. I’m right where I was belong born and raised right here in St Augustine. He is NOT from here. And it’s sad that he thinks he knows what my ancestor; whose name is on the monument in the plaza; thoughts about slavery were. Just goes to show how stupid people are when they think that was the ONLY reason we left the Union. SMDH. But thanks for the laugh this morning. Have a good day. I’ll pray for you and BLESS YOUR HEART.
LikeReply416 hrs
Pamela Vandiver Stanford
Marshell Carnage as a matter of fact you don’t even know my views on slavery. So for the record I’m against it.
LikeReply216 hrs
Tom Reynolds · 

HEY CARNAGE .................. easy TUFF GUY!
LikeReply16 hrs
Bob Lynn
Pamela Vandiver Stanford Strange, no one is "for" slavery. Those days are long gone. It's time to move on.
LikeReply112 hrs
John Barnes
Pamela Vandiver Stanford the last time I checked St Augustine was in the USA no the CSA.
LikeReply110 hrs
Pamela Vandiver Stanford
Bob Lynn well the way y’all are carrying on and making a big deal about a memorial one would get the impression y’all think we are for slavery because we want them left standing. SMH 🤦🏻‍♀️
LikeReply9 hrs
Pamela Vandiver Stanford
John Barnes ok I’m sorry let me clarify that for you. Way back before the Civil War when Florida left the Union. Wow LOL 🤦🏻‍♀️
LikeReply9 hrs
Marshell Carnage
Rev. Rawls is a member of the community and has been since 2007. He has as much right to express concern about the community he is raising his children as you Pamela.
LikeReply9 hrs
Pamela Vandiver Stanford
Marshell Carnage so then why doesn’t he focus is energies on doing something about the growing homeless problem. Or the growing opioid problem. Some issues that really matter rather than focusing on the past. 🤦🏻‍♀️
LikeReply19 hrs
Cindy Rockafellow · 

Pamela Vandiver Stanford do you realize that African Americans in this country don’t even KNOW who their ancestors are or what their country of origin might be? And a big part of the reason that they don’t know this is because they were not documented as people and brought to our soil as “cargo”. Those monuments celebrate the erasure of other people’s ancestory and history.
LikeReply17 hrs
Pamela Vandiver Stanford
Cindy Rockafellow so you are saying that my ancestors history shouldn’t mean anything to me even though my family didn’t own slaves, bring slaves over etc? So you want me and every other St Augustine NATIVE (meaning been here since it’s foundation not just since 2007 (rawls) or any other transplant) that has a name on that monument to just erase our history to make you feel comfortable with living here? I have no idea why my ancestors fought in the Civil War. BUT take down the monument or leave them up I will FOREVER be PROUD of him and every other man that fought for what they believed was right. Y’all just so focused on the slavery aspect like it was ONLY in the South. And question if you erase the South’s history does that mean the Civil Rights movement didn’t happen then either. You can’t change history. It happened. It’s a sad disturbing part of our American History. But people moving here should NOT have a right to tell LOCAL NATIVE ST AUGUSTIANS to take down something that has been here LONG before them. People moving here have been slowly destroying this town over the years and it’s disgusting and disturbing. And these monuments no where on them do they say they that they celebrate slavery. It’s a monument of men who went and fought in a War that was all across this Nation. What about the African Americans that fought for the South? Are they now shunned by the African Americans of today? And are you suggesting that every single African American in this country today can’t trace their ancestors? None of them? not one?. I find that hard to believe. Some but all? I have no intention of not celebrating my ancestors or being PROUD I’m from the SOUTH. I just don’t get if everyone and everything is so offensive and needs to be changed in the South why does everyone keep coming here?
LikeReply26 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Pamela Vandiver Stanford Retired Florida National Guard Colonel Elizabeth Masters put it best in a St. Augustine Record column -- honorable people fight dishonorable wars. Let's work on healing. No one chooses their parents or their ancestors. The monuments will stay.
LikeReply6 hrs
Dan Winkler · 

There are many things to stand up for, how about the community the pastor has his church in. There are families there that could benefit from positive support rather than this misdirected interest in history.
LikeReply517 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Let the healing continue.

Thanks to Mayor Shaver for leadership, listening graciously to some 106 speakers, starting August 28th (Feast of Saint. Augustine, 452nd anniversary of Menendez's sighting land and naming our town after a black man, Saint Augustine of Hippo). The Civil War veteran monument will remain. We need healing, starting with "contextualization."

St. Augustine's Spanish Governors freed British slaves. In retaliation, the British twice burned our small town. Fort Mose state park honors the African-Americans who won freedom from slavery under the Spanish, fleeing oppression in British slave-owning colonies.

We need greater protection for resources with enhanced National Park Service status.

We need to promote healing, with respect for history, including:
1. Enactment of St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore, first proposed by Mayor Walter Fraser, Senator Claude Pepper, et al. in 1939. Let's honor 11,000 years of history, including the first Africans (free and slave) who arrived here on September 8, 1565 with Pedro Menendez, and America's first Hispanics, Catholics and Jews. Courageous Menorcans, Greeks and Italians fled British contract-slavery in New Smyrna colony in 1777, voting with their feet. Let's share these inspiring stories with the world with NPS interpretation.

2. Adding local Union Civil War veterans' names to monument.

3. Emancipation Proclamation Park monument (site of first reading is now a parking lot).

4. National civil rights museum here honoring St. Augustine Movement's role in adoption of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, making history come alive.

5. Sculptures honoring families of slavery victims,

6. Monument honoring Sisters of St. Joseph Sisters Mary Thomasine Hehir, Mary Scholastica Sullivan and Mary Benignus Cameron, arrested by Sheriff in 1916 on orders of then-Gov. Park Trammell, retaliation for teaching in "negro" school (St. Benedict the Moor).

7. Sculpture(s) of civil rights heroes Robert Hayling, Stetson Kennedy, Otis Mason and Barbara Vickers, near General William Wing Loring monument.

8. Renaming Loring Park, perhaps as Stetson Kennedy Park, honoring the KKK-busting hero forever,

9. Monument to "Guillermo," first anti-Gay hate crime victim (1566), a French translator of the Guale language, whom Menendez ordered garroted to death in secret because he said Guillermo was a "Sodomite and a Lutheran."

10. Florida law requiring K-12 civil rights education, like in Mississippi.

11. Renewed dedication to restoring democracy, open government and transparency.

12. Halting developers destruction of our history, wetlands, wildlife and beauty.

13. Ending housing, employment and public accommodations discrimination.

14. Restoring artists and entertainers to their rightful place in historic downtown.

15. Election vote on County Charter: limited, open, accountable government, independent Inspector General and Ombuds.

16. Single-member Commissioner districts.

17. Solving mobility, affordable housing and low wages.

18. Pumping system to protect Our Oldest City from ocean level rise. Hurricanes Matthew and Harvey are harbingers. We'll get federal funds through enactment of the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore.

19. Federal Grand Jury investigation of corruption and civil rights violations, including September 2, 2010 shooting death of Michelle O'Connell and Sheriff David Shoar's massive coverup, documented in 2013 and 2017 New York Times investigations and PBS/Frontline. Shoar persecuted and tried to prosecute FDLE special agent Rusty Rodgers. The stain of corruption in St. Johns County is indefensible, and must be ended at once. The whole world is watching us as a result of the Michelle O'Connell case.

RFK said after Dr. King was murdered, "what we need in the United States is not hatred (but) ... love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black."
LikeReply517 hrs
Ted Alex Wilson · 

What everyone seems to forget is Loring and many other Confederate hero statues were built to celebrate the South by people who hated the fact that blacks were "equal" and also hated the North. In 1920 to 1950 at the height of Jim Crow is when they were built, Loring's not after the war, but in 1920. Why?

To send a message to black people and carpetbaggers, this is ours and you aren't welcome here. And as far as some are concerned, that message continues today. Contextualize that.
LikeReply711 hrsEdited
Louise Austin · 

Ted Alex Wilson I agree with you. How can treason and White Supremacy be contextualized?
LikeReply713 hrs
Ted Alex Wilson · 

Louise Austin, they're gonna try. 🤔
LikeReply211 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Ted Alex Wilson Loring is a grave monument, not a statue. See below for more on this general, who was respected by both Union General and future President U.S. Grant and by General W.T. Sherman.
LikeReply6 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

But I support changing name of Loring Park to Stetson Kennedy Park, while contextualizing the Loring monument. Does that work for you?
LikeReply5 hrs
Richard Crooks · 

Seems to me there are more important things to be worrying about, like staying fed! This guy is an outside troublemaker who's tax return I'd love to see to ascertain where his income is derived from.
LikeReply216 hrsEdited
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

1. My favorite Civil War General was William Tecumseh Sherman. General Sherman recommended General William Wing Loring to the Khedive of Egypt, who hired him as a General.
2. General Loring toured General U.S. Grant and his wife around Egypt after Grant was President.
3. When General Loring died, he was honored and feted by both Union and Confederate veterans, first in NYC and then here in St. Augustine (where they celebrated Loring's life at a joint camp for a week).
4. Healing matters. Who knew better than Civil War veterans, including both Grant and Sherman?
LikeReply215 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Do y'all know what song President Abraham Lincoln had the band play after General Lee surrendered to General Grant?
LikeReply314 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Auretha Callison He told the band to play "Dixie."
LikeReply12 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Lincoln promoted healing. Heed the example of his Second Inaugural Address, "with malice toward none, with charity toward all... to bind up the Nation's wounds....
LikeReply12 hrs
Tom Reynolds · 


LAST CHANCE OFFER FROM ME ............................


IT"S A GO .................

LikeReply115 hrs
David Cash
Rawls needs to worry about his flock. This could be a healing moment for them. But he has decided to continue the hate and division. Not very Christian. He has joined the ranks of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Nothing positive can come from this continued misguided attempt to remove our history.
LikeReply215 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Not one word from Rawls at his church on healing -- it was a frightening hate rally, using words like "traitor." Rawls at first blocked Prof. Tom Graham from speaking. Yet Rawls invited Doug Russo to the front of the church to speak in defense of slavery. Rawls needs therapy.
LikeReply114 hrs
Dennis Homsey · 

Juan Ponce de Leon Statue next?? he was a genocidal, gold-hunting lieutenant of Christopher Columbus and should not be honored American Indians say.
Do we still honor Martin Luther King Jr? JFK files recently released by the National Archives, includes the assertion that singer Joan Baez was among the multiple women with whom King allegedly had affairs, the New York Daily News reported. A dossier on Martin Luther King Jr. claims the civil rights leader possibly fathered a child out of wedlock, and had an affinity for orgies.
LikeReply315 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

FBI Director John Edgar Hoover had a permanent hate-on for Dr. King. Consider the source of the "dossier" and his lifelong animus against activists.
LikeReply313 hrs
Christopher Myers · 

The war against slavery was THE VICTORY over slavery. It cost thousands of lives to finally end such an awful human cancer. That monuments exist is a testimony to true diversity—revealling human character and broad convictions; removing them, any of them because of the emotional charge they elicit, is to eradicate the legacy of our nation's turbulent quest for justice. History will repeat itself without cautionary milemarkers that inform and help us understand. That souls rally to remove such milemarkers is not a surprise: we all want to be free of what we hate, but this is a democracy where both sides matter.
UnlikeReply414 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

I agree.
LikeReply14 hrs
Jay Neumark · 

I fully support taking any funding that would be used for removal of monuments to build a civil rights museum. It's a waste of money to remove history. Instead lets move forward and add more. St. Augustine has great stories to tell and the more we teach people the more we come together in understanding.
LikeReply13 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Imagine a 40,000 square foot museum showing all of St. Augustine's human and natural history, perhaps at the long-flat site of the Sebastian Inland Harbor.
LikeReply12 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Or a K-12 civil rights curriculum in Florida, as Mississippi adopted under Gov. Haley Barbour.
LikeReply6 hrs
Bob Lynn
He wants his 15 minutes to last awhile longer
LikeReply12 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

Informal poll: "Rev" Rawls reminds me of [fill in name of demagogue]??
Reply7 hrs
Eric Marchiafava
I dont think Rawls understands many soldiers have died (of all races) , in many wars over the centuries, for causes or reasons they did not understand and may not have agreed with- Most in their teens and twenties. A vast majority of those soldiers were conscripts and had no choice and served out of duty or answered the call; Or else be labeled a traitor and executed, imprisoned and/or reflect shame upon their family- Confederate "soldiers" most certainly included. Removing the gravestones or memorials would be very unamerican and divisive to the community!
LikeReply6 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

I agree. My parents were Northerners, married at Fort Benning, one of ten military bases named for Confederate Generals, and for a reason -- to promote healing. Military veterans and service members did much to promote healing. I agree with what Prof. Tom Graham started to suggest in Rev. Rawls' church back in August -- names of St. Augustine's Union Civil War veterans need to be added to monument.
Reply6 hrs
Edward Adelbert Slavin · 

1. Rawls wants to punish dead people by removing their monument, infuriating their greatgrandchildren. UnChristian. Our Menorcan friends and neighbors related to the people on that monument -- some 25,000 of them -- deserve respect. The monument stays.
2. Rawls' angry invocation of "treason" and "traitors" in this article invokes our United States Constitution, Article III, Section 3, Clause 2. "The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."
3. Thus, would it be unconstitutional for the City of St. Augustine to remove a monument to local war veterans based upon allegations of "treason" that were never proven in court? I've asked the City Attorney for research.
4. Rawls needs to find a new hobby, or is it a hobbyhorse?
LikeReply6 hrs

1 comment:

Warren Celli said...

Wow! The hypocrisy does not get much better than this!

Ed Slavin, the father of the cities new fascist 'starve the homeless to death' program, gets on a different situational ethics morality soap box and preaches the gangster"s new 'contextualization' scam.

There will be no healing until they stop the stealing.

Keep on pretending.