TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As an anti-racism movement continues across the United States, statues of slave traders, imperialists and conquerors are coming down. Florida is one of the most responsive states to calls for removal, a new study has found.
The public information website BeenVerified analyzed July 2019 data of monuments and symbols tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Those include statues, plaques, schools, roads, cities, counties, bodies of water, colleges, military bases, buildings, parks, holidays, bridges, scholarships, plaques and commemorative license plates.
The study found a total of 1,747 statues still stood last year of men who came to prominence during the five years between the Confederate secession from the Union in 1860 until its defeat in the Civil War in 1865.
Most statues, roads and schools related to the Confederacy depict Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate general who was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has the sixth-highest number of monuments.
The analysis of reports around the country found that 34 additional Confederate symbols were pulled down in 2020, including six monuments that were pulled down by protesters. The rest have been officially decommissioned or decommission plans have been announced.
In the wake of the protests since George Floyd died at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Officer, Florida and Texas have each removed five Confederate monuments – the second-most just after Virginia, which has removed 12 statues since protests began.
After removing 22 percent of its statues, Florida still has 63 Confederate monuments. But just last week, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry – a Republican who in the past had avoided taking a position on the topic – ordered city employees to remove a statue of a Confederate soldier in Hemming Park.
“The confederate monument is gone and the others in this city will be removed as well,” Curry said at the time. “We hear your voices. We have heard your voices.”
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