Senate Approves Removal of Rebel Statue (What's next?)

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Misty, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    A measure that would remove a statue of a Confederate general born in Florida from the U.S. Capitol was quickly approved by a state Senate panel Tuesday, though the proposal drew its first opposing vote.

    The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee passed the bill (SB 310) on a 4-1 vote, with Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, in opposition. The debate over the statue of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, one of two Floridians represented in the National Statuary Hall at the Capitol, comes amid a backlash against symbols of the Confederacy after a man with white supremacist views was accused of killing nine African-American worshipers in June at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. Seber Newsome III, from Yulee, told the committee that the backlash was an overreaching attempt to erase Southern history.

    And he questioned the motives of Sen. John Legg, a Trinity Republican who is sponsoring the bill and was first elected to the Legislature in 2004. “If it is so important to him to remove the statue of General Smith, why did he wait 11 years?” Newsome asked.

    But Legg said he had been “planning on it for a couple of decades actually,” recalling that he would take his history students to the U.S. Capitol and have them write about Florida’s two statues. Legg noted that Smith left Florida when he was 12. “His impact on Florida was not significant,” Legg said. “He just did not shape Florida’s history.”

    Each state is allowed a pair of statues in the hall. A replacement for Smith would be nominated by a committee responsible for selecting recipients of the Great Floridian award. The Florida Department of State would submit a report to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2017, including the name of the nominee, the sculptor and the estimated cost of replacing Smith’s likeness.

    The House version of the bill was unanimously approved by the House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee this month. The measures are filed for the 2016 session, which starts in January.

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    Courtesy WZEP
     
  2. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I would rather see rebel flags removed from all public places (Walton County - is it the last one left in Florida?)...

    But, statues may need replacing from time to time for various reasons and why not if there is validity.
     
  3. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    I see no validity in removing history.
     
  4. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Leave the statues alone.

    While a flag can represent different things to different people, a statue of a person is just that, a statue of a person, in this case on from history.

    Not much room for interpretation there...
     
  5. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    On this issue, Misty is absolutely correct. Why do some insist on trying to change history?
     
  6. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I don't think anyone should remove a statue to change history - that doesn't make sense. I can't tell from the article but it seems like this dude - Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith - didn't have much to do with Florida history since he moved away when he was 12. Perhaps someone else can be honored in this space at the Capitol? Maybe the statue can be preserved in a more appropriate place?

    I think our leaders can and should seek ways to honor people and history even if that means moving some statues around. I don't see the big deal. However, if the change is due to dumb politics (which this may be) then it's probably a waste of effort.

    The General does have an interesting history though. Moving his statue won't change that...

    Edmund Kirby Smith (May 16, 1824 – March 28, 1893) was a career United States Army officer who served with the Confederates during the Civil War, as one of only seven officers to reach the rank of Full General.

    Wounded at First Bull Run, he distinguished himself during Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky, before being made commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department (Texas, Louisiana, Western Arkansas) in January 1863. After the Mississippi fell to the Union, this isolated zone became virtually an independent nation, nicknamed 'Kirby Smithdom'. In the Red River Campaign of Spring 1864, he commanded the victorious General Richard Taylor, who defeated the combined army/navy assault under Nathaniel Banks.

    On May 26, 1865, he surrendered his army at Galveston, Texas, before fleeing abroad to avoid arrest for treason. His wife negotiated his return. After the war, Smith worked in the telegraph and railway industries, as well as serving as a college professor.
     
  7. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    I question the timing and motivation, seems like a cheap political move at first glance. The sponsor has been in office 11 years and never had a problem with the Smith statue until now. But, if you want to rotate the statues or honor someone who had more impact on Florida's history then go for it.
     
  8. Poppaj

    Poppaj Beach Fanatic

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    He made his army surrender but he fled abroad. Makes us all proud. It's perfect! Leave it where it is.
     
  9. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    Teresa, thank you for a very interesting history lesson. For a displaced Westerner, now a Floridian, it was, indeed, a nice historical moment.
     
  10. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    He's quite interesting, though I don't claim to know much about the General from what little I've seen. I believe the news stories should go into a little more depth to provide interested readers something to go with besides political controversy.
     
  11. Poppaj

    Poppaj Beach Fanatic

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    It would also be fair to ask how many of our fellow Floridians who are suddenly so concerned about the statue's preservation were even aware it existed until now.
     
  12. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I had no clue about the statue. That doesn't mean it should be removed. At least the General is getting some attention via this news story. I am very interested in finding out more about this General turned professor. History is fascinating with or without a statue. I don't know why the statue should be moved frankly. Someone decided he should be honored as one of two allowed statues at the US Capitol. I don't see a problem with changing out statues but with very serious consideration, and not because it's a confederate memorial which is a huge part of our history . . . Seems like there are more important issues..
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  13. Poppaj

    Poppaj Beach Fanatic

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    It makes no difference to me if it stays or goes. I just believe the sponsor has a good argument for removing it and those who wish for it to remain need something better than "it's just always been there."
     
  14. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    He looks like a Muslim. Why risk it? Take it down.
     
  15. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    I feel like there might be more important and pressing issues for a US Congressman to be occupying his time with.
     
  16. liz coats

    liz coats Beach Comber

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    I'm sure the statue along with the Confederate flags have been major contributors to climate change.
     
  17. BeachArkie

    BeachArkie Beach Lover

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    I hadn't seen the statues in decades, so I just looked at it online. Far more famous and impressive figures are the norm, so I can understand why they want to change the statue. The other statue is Gorrie (the guy who invented air conditioning), so slim pickings may be why Smith was chosen. Aside from Osceola, I can't think of a Florida candidate with the same national fame level as most of the other statues. Founding Fathers, Presidents, and trailblazers seems to be the norm. The person has to be dead, a resident of the state represented, and have been "illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services".

    Don't think it is an anti-Confederacy issue, as Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and several others who served in the Confederacy are statues. Alabama just changed one of its statues from Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry to Helen Keller in 2009. Guessing that Keller being their choice for the quarter in 2003 had something to do with the change.

    The National Statuary Hall Collection | Architect of the Capitol | United States Capitol
     
  18. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Thanks for the info. I wonder how often these statues are changed out in general, and it will be interesting to see who Florida will propose as a replacement.
     
  19. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    Can't we just send up a statue of a guy in jorts and a T-shirt to represent 'Florida Man' that we all love so much?
     
  20. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    or a Florida Skunkape.
     

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