Protesters chant “Take it down!” at Tampa Confederate monument

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About sixty protesters chanted “Take it down!” in front of a monument to Confederate soldiers outside a Hillsborough Courts administration building in downtown Tampa Tuesday morning; they were there for a press conference criticizing last week’s Hillsborough County Commission narrow vote to keep the monument in place, despite widespread community objection.

Rev. James T. Golden is social action director for the 11th Episcopal district of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Confederate memorial

Protest against Confederate memorial on the grounds of Hillsborough County administrative courthouse in Tampa, Florida. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (27 June 2017).

“Everybody that needs a passport. Everybody that wants to get married. Everybody that has public– everybody that records their deeds, has to walk through these doors and they have to walk past this statue. That may have been good when it was put up, but, this ain’t your daddy’s county. [applause] This ain’t your granddaddy’s town anymore.

“As has been pointed out, there’s too much progress that has been made. There’s been too many strides that have been taken to bring us here to this point and we will not go away. We will not be afraid and we will not stop. To the four of you: one of you must change, not just your mind, but, you got to change your heart. This is spiritual warfare and I don’t know about you, but, I’m gonna stay on the battlefield until it is done.

Confederate memorial

Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp speaks at a protest against a Confederate memorial on the grounds of Hillsborough County administrative courthouse in Tampa, Florida. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (27 June 2017).

“There’s an African proverb that says: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This is bite one. We’ve got schools that got improper names. We’ve got streets that have got improper names. We’ve got a whole lot that is wrong with us, but, to quote another president, President Clinton: ‘There is nothing wrong with us that the good in us can’t make right with us.'”

Several of the speakers at the press conference suggested that they would try again to get the Hillsborough County Commission to move the monument to a cemetery or somewhere off county property.

About four people who appeared to disagree with the protesters stood to the side of the press conference.

Captain Phil Walters is a professional alligator hunter and owns Gator Guides.

Confederate soldier memorial Tampa

Confederate memorial on the grounds of Hillsborough County administrative courthouse in Tampa, Florida. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (27 June 2017).

“I think that the entire premise of this movement to remove our historical monuments is flawed. This comes from the NAACP Odious Blight Resolution claiming that this represents slavery, racism and treason. None of that is true. This monument was not put up to racism, it was put up to honor veterans and soldiers for a cause of which they fought of which no confederate was ever tried or convicted of treason. So, that’s an anomaly. It’s wrong. To move it and hide people from history; how are you supposed to learn from history if you hide it and hide people from it?

“Additionally, most of our medicines and drugs we have today were tested on animals. What if the animal rights people come out and say ‘God. These are horrible. That offends me that these drugs were tested on animals.’ Why don’t we just pull all our drugs off the market and shelf that’s helping and aiding our living conditions. So, this entire movement– Why don’t we have a rally for graduation rates for kids, something that will make a difference. Why don’t we have classes teaching kids how to conduct themselves in public to become productive citizens. Let’s see some excitement there, but, to move a 105-year old monument that hasn’t caused any problems in that long? What is this a joke?”

And they say they’re going to bring it back before commissioners.

“They have every right to do it, I mean, they– you know, this is a free society. You can do what you like to do. But, I think they should be concentrating on things that actually have legitimacy rather than just creating an issue where it doesn’t exist.”

Dr. Bennie Small is the president of the Hillsborough County branch of the NAACP.

 

  • David McCallister

    A correction is in order.
    Phil Walters was misquoted.
    It’s the NAACP’s “Odious blight on the universe” resolution from 1991 [Not odious black…].
    Look it up on the internet for yourself.
    This national resolution led to the NAACP’s campaign of twenty-five years of politically correct misinformation, illogic, revisionism, eraseism, Confederophobia, and the intentional use of hate (odious means hateful), and demonization reminiscent of the earlier practice of “waving the bloody shirt”, as a wedge issue to push their selfish agenda and create division among good citizens of all races, as a crass political stratagem.

    It’s a sad day when the WMNF reporter can’t get something this well known straight. Listen for yourself.
    Well, let’s be generous -perhaps it was Phil’s Southern accent which threw the reporter/transcriber off.
    I suggest that WMNF re-interview him and correct the error. Journalistic credibility is on the line.

  • Terrie Walters
  • nikki9letters

    The statue has been there since the 1950’s. These protesting idiots didn’t even know about it until a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, now that is dedication for a cause.

  • yakidding

    Well well well lots of crazy haters and racists throwing it down here. yikes. I guess WMNF reaches The Evil Side after all. Certainly it’s important to know how creepy they are. Thanks for putting this video here for us, WMNF. So, for the haters commenting: monuments to a low time in our national history, when a way of life and its socio-economic system (your preference?) tortured and killed many millions of people, do not belong in places of honor at our centers of our government and community. Your hate is toxic and will eat you up. The rest of us are moving ahead in the spirit of Peace, cooperating and working for the success of our shared futures. The times are a-changin’….again.

    • It is crazy how they come out when their worldview is challenged. We try to stay on top of it. Thank you for posting, and for being on the side of good.

      • yakidding

        Some may disagree, but I’m glad you’re not deleting these hater comments. I’d rather hear the strident and desperate Dark Side here, and on the air, than feel the need to check in on Rush and O’Reilly spew.

        • This is an automatic reply to your message. I am out of the office. If you need technical support or immediate assistance, please contact support@webtent.net.
          Thank you,

          Robert Fitzpatrick

  • Gabriel Dennis

    I hope it stays there forever.

  • Laurie Ryan

    Thanks to all who protested this decision. The HCC is notoriously slow when it comes to change. Keep up the good work.

  • Kara

    Take Em Down!!
    Sincerely,
    A registered Tampa nurse