Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
More than 1,700 symbols of the Confederacy remain in public spaces across the U.S., including 65 in Florida, according to a new report
from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC identified 110 Confederate symbols that were removed by local and state governments in the three years since the symbol was embraced by Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who killed nine African Americans at a Charleston church in 2015.
Last year, the City of Orlando removed
the "Johnny Reb" Confederate statue at Lake Eola Park and relocated it to Greenwood Cemetery, making it one of the nine monuments removed in Florida. The Orange County School Board also voted to change Robert E. Lee Middle School to College Park Middle School. Orange County school officials are also considering changing the name of Stonewall Jackson Middle School
Photo via orlandoweekly/Instagram
The "Johnny Reb" Confederate statue at Lake Eola Park before it was removed
The SPLC report found that many of the 1,728 symbols still standing are protected by state law or civic leaders who "refuse to act in the face of a strong backlash among many white Southerners who are still enthralled by the myth of the 'Lost Cause' and the revisionist history that these monuments represent." The symbols include 772 monuments, 100 public schools, 80 counties and cities, 10 federal military bases and nine observed state holidays. Most of the remaining statutes are located in Georgia (115), Virginia (108) and North Carolina (97), although Florida is home to 26 monuments.
"These statues are not just stone and metal," former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in speech quoted by the report
. "They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for."
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