City recommends removal of Confederate monument in Pensacola

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Pensacola’s city administrator has recommended the complete removal of the Confederate monument at Robert E. Lee Square in downtown Pensacola.

The City of Pensacola released the recommendation Tuesday afternoon. It is addressed to Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson and from City Administrator Keith Wilkins. The memorandum has also been shared with Pensacola’s City Council.

“Under careful consideration and with Pensacola’s collective heritage and historic landscape in mind, staff has determined that Lee Square and the monument does not reflect our current values nor strive to create a more inclusive City,” a memorandum said.

“Although the Confederate monument remembers those that lead, fought and died for the Confederacy, it also promotes a post-Reconstruction “Lost Cause” narrative that memorializes a divisive time in American history reflective of “white supremacy” and the Jim Crow era. The Square and Monument are not equitable representations of all our citizens. To achieve a stronger and more unified community, staff recommends the complete removal of the Lee Square Confederate monument.”

On June 11, Pensacola’s City Council introduced discussion on the Lee Square Confederate monument. In that discussion was the possibility of adding historical items to Lee Square so more backgrounds were represented. City staff determined it was not possible to alter the site to make it represent all backgrounds.

“As we celebrate 200 years of Florida being a part of the United States next year, we desire a place where all of us feel we are represented with equity,” the memorandum says. “Staff recommends, the Square cannot be altered using its current memorial and be equitable to all parties of our community.”

Calls for the removal of Confederate monuments across the country came after the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Many believe the monuments represent the oppression of the Black community.

City staff recommends removing the Lee Square monument and storing it or donating it to a historical foundation.

The council will hold a special meeting July 14 to make a decision on whether to remove the monument.

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