A Florida woman became quite emotional during a meeting of the Hillsborough County commission yesterday because a Confederate monument had been removed from the courthouse entrance.
As seen in video taken by WFLA reporter Ryan Hughes, the distraught woman wailed “I’m disgusted to be an American and I’m disgusted to call Hillsborough County my home” after workers took down the monument on Tuesday.
The work proceeded after a county judge threw out a lawsuit by a group of plaintiffs that included Sons of Confederate Veterans, a once-mainstream “heritage” group that has become a hotbed of racist extremism in recent years.
The “Memoria in Aeterna” monument, which consists of a pair of Confederate soldier statues and a 36-foot obelisk, will be relocated to a private cemetery and returned to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the “Lost Cause” Confederate apologist group that first erected it in 1952 as a celebration of white supremacy.
Three local professional sports franchises paid for its removal, saying the monument “does not reflect the values of our community.”
After a party-line vote to keep the monument in place during June, protesters kept up the pressure to remove it. Two commissioners experienced a change of heart in July, infuriating the woman who showed up for their meeting on Thursday.
“You did right, you voted to save it, and you cowards,” the woman admonished them. “I can’t believe it. You did the right thing, and I’m just disgusted.”
David McCallister, an attorney who tried to save the monument from being removed, was similarly outraged to see it being taken down. “They had a bunch of jackals calling for this action and now that it’s down they’re carving up the corpse like butchers,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “No respect. No dignity.”
Not one opponent of removal evinced a single iota of concern for victims of lynching in the Jim Crow south — a practice that went hand-in-hand with the erection of white supremacist monuments during the same era.
According to a report by the Equal Justice Initiative, Florida saw more lynchings per capita between 1877 and 1950 than the other 11 states they studied, ranking 5th overall. As seen on a map of Florida lynchings between 1882 and 1930, Tampa Bay was an especially violent corner of the state for much of that time.
Accounts of the era show that victims were often hanged, then stabbed, then riddled with bullets, and then cut up for souvenirs.
Given that dark and bloody history, it is hard to take the monument’s defenders seriously when they wail and cry about being “disgusted” to see inanimate statues of Confederate soldiers “carved up like a corpse.”
Here is the video of the unnamed woman melting down before the Hillsborough County Commission. Watch:
— Ryan Hughes (@WFLARyan) September 7, 2017
Featured image via screen capture
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