Battle over Capitol’s Confederate memorial begins anew

old Capitol Confederate monument (Large)
One critic said the monument was “full of fake Confederate history.”

State Rep. Geraldine Thompson says she’s renewing an effort to get rid of a Confederate memorial on the state Capitol grounds.


That comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis officially called for a statue of educator and civil-rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune to replace that of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in the U.S. Capitol.

In a brief statement through a spokesperson on Monday, Thompson said she will “press for relocation” of the monument that’s outside the old Capitol.

Alternatively, the Windermere Democrat said, she will argue for “placement of a plaque explaining Florida’s secession from the Union and treason against the United States.” (When she was previously a state Senator, she filed legislation to ban the display of Confederate flags on state and local government property.)

Moving the monument may be easier talked about than done.

Records show the memorial was dedicated in 1882 and was moved to its current location near Monroe Street in 1923. It honors “the heroic patriotism of the men of Leon County who perished in the Civil War.”

In 2017, then-Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum called for the monument’s removal: “In the wake of Charlottesville, people all around the country are grappling with how we deal with our nation’s history and its uglier elements, including slavery, racism and the Confederacy,” he said in a statement.

That summer, Kevin Cate – Gillum’s media consultant – had written a column on Medium about how the monument was “full of fake Confederate history,” including that it “misspells and misplaces Gettysburg, Pennsylvania — and that may be its least egregious error.”

At the time, however, the Department of Management Services – which acts as the state’s real estate manager – said it wasn’t then-Gov. Rick Scott‘s decision to make. It explained the memorial was “a permanent exhibit of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, which is managed by the Florida Legislature.”

But then-Senate President Joe Negron soon said the monument wasn’t the Legislature’s responsibility, either. His spokeswoman told the AP “the historic Capitol is not in possession of any ownership papers regarding the memorial, nor is it part of any exhibit that they own or maintain.”

In recent years, the Senate did remove a Confederate flag from its official seal and took down a mural outside the entrance to its public and press galleries that included a depiction of a Confederate general.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Ike

    July 22, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    That’s why we needed to elect Gillium and this wouldn’t be a problem. Let’s see how the Republican legislature deals with this.. could cost them many independents votes and will energize Blacks in Florida. A state that banned the only HBCU law school for over 30 years and also had slaves working on their plantations. She is the perfect person to be on the state capital

    • Mary Stevens

      July 22, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      While we are at it, remove all monuments to MLK, Jr for his philandering and plagiarism.

      • gary

        July 22, 2019 at 5:48 pm

        @Mary Stevens: Don’t go their girlfriend they can’t handle the truth.

        • Brenda morris

          July 23, 2019 at 9:20 am

          Leave our Statues alone it’s our history how’s our grandchildren an great grandchildren gonna learn of history they don’t teach it in schools

          • William

            July 23, 2019 at 8:05 pm

            Your statues are representations of lies. The lies stop now. Your descendants shall know the truth. They should not feel shame, it’s not their fault. They’ll be better for it.

            “A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union

            In the momentous step, which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

            Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.”

          • Paul Siano

            July 26, 2019 at 2:22 pm

            You’re statutes represent slavery, whipping, racism, treason, segregation, lynching, Jim Crow laws. You people are disgusting. I wish you could go through what the blacks went through and see how you like it, get a taste of your own medicine.

      • Randal

        July 23, 2019 at 8:18 am

        Don’t forget all streets & parks with the name.

      • Big chris

        July 24, 2019 at 2:48 pm

        Agreed and his treason against the us government and inciting riots. He was a ho

    • gary

      July 22, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      I find it amusing that the Democrats are trying to hide their racist and bigoted past. It’s like listening to Clinton say, “I did not have sex with that woman” or Obama “You can keep your plan and your doctor”!

      Democrats are now a joke!

      I am an abolitionist supporting Republican, yet I don’t erasing history will change a damn thing… So why get to work for the people and stop the pandering and guilty retreat of history?!

    • Johnn

      July 23, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      You liberals don’t understand that many blacks today AR going over to the Republican side. The good side. They are not as stupid as you Democrats think they are and most have caught on to your Plantation tactics. Gillum is an absolute Obama robot who only has dark skin but no brain.

  • Seber Newsome III

    July 22, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Thompson is so full of hate. One day she will have to answer to God at the Pearly Gates. She thinks by tearing down 100 year memorials will solve her people’s problems. It is all a ruse to cover up the crime committed by her people. Do something worth while instead of fueling hate. Your nothing but a race baiter, like Al Sharpton.

    • gary

      July 22, 2019 at 5:50 pm


  • David

    July 22, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    “Taliban” Thompson is at it again.
    What part of “permanent” does she not understand?
    Reasonable Floridians reject her campaign of hate against our families and veterans.

  • Jack

    July 22, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    I was unaware that the Taliban is running the State.

  • Dave Manning

    July 22, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Why not focus on black on black crime & murder if you really want to help the colored. Erasing history will not help the colored. many of the colored fought WITH the Confederacy. Ignorance is rampant among Democrats who only want to cry about so called ‘racism’.

  • William

    July 23, 2019 at 9:57 am

    The monuments to traitors and slavery lovers will be moved or melted down eventually. The neo-confederates had two centuries to spread your lies about the cause of the Civil War, but the truth can’t be hidden forever. The confederacy lost and they fought for slavery. Facts.

    • Jack

      July 23, 2019 at 12:38 pm

      You Sir are a moron who indeed cares nothing for facts.

      • Angela Fickert

        July 23, 2019 at 11:06 pm

        Really?? You and all people who are against the south need a history lesson. Why don’t you watch Free State of Jones and then we can talk. Also, if we continue getting rid of flags that offend people start removing professional sports teams, LGBT, and so much more. And if we are getting rid of statues that supported slaves get rid of President Lincoln while you’re at it. One last thing, one of the largest slave owners in the South was an African American so I guess he’s racist too huh? Also, add this Reverse Racism word. It is very offensive to me and I’m going to start the fight to remove that from any news papers anyting that speaks of the news and what’s happening in what we used to call the United States of America because it’s wrong and it’s offensive and if you guys love each other so much why are you constantly killing each other and destroying the cities you live in and the people you live with? Just curious?

    • John

      July 23, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      Another liberal idiot who knows nothing about true history. You Democrats will be looked at as deviants 100 years from now.

      • William

        July 23, 2019 at 8:09 pm

        I’m mot a Democrat. I’m an independent. If the GOP ever stops being racist, I’ll return to the party. Not very likely with Trump the p grabber ruining the party.

  • Randy

    July 23, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Hey, why don’t you do your job here and now. If you can’t then you should be fired. Quit tearing the country’s history down, it happened and to keep wheaning about racism and other crap concentrate on the hear and now. Sick of you cry babies over events that happened 150 years ago. Get over it. Confederates are Americans too. Now please shut up.

    • William

      July 23, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      There are no confederates. They died over a hundred years ago. The lost and the confederacy was dissolved. The south will not rise again, you’re too poor and uneducated.

      • Angela Fickert

        July 24, 2019 at 8:00 am

        Wow!!!! And you call us racist????? Why can African Americans hate white people and kill white people and it’s okay???? Also, If you watched the movie I suggested so you don’t sound uneducated that if ever called yourself a Republican (LOFAO) that’s what the Confederate was called!!!! EDUCATION EDUCATION EDUCATION

  • Lola Sanchez

    July 23, 2019 at 11:44 am

    This is the same old destroy America one symbol at a time routine that’s been going on for a while (songs, flag and one monument). National Anthem is ‘racist’; Gadsden flag is ‘Racist”, Confederate flag is ‘racist’, Betsy Ross’ flag is ‘racist’, Kate Smith is ‘racist’, The National Anthem is ‘racist’ WWII memorials are ‘sexist’. Heavens to Betsy, let’s hope Tallahassee finds some sanity and decides to protect all our veterans memorials from Taliban Thompson and Andrew Gillum!

    • Larry Gillreath

      July 23, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      Yes Lola! You have said it all so very well and right! Thank you & bless you my dear!

  • Harold Finch

    July 23, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    If only the Black politicians and leaders would spend as much time and effort on stopping the horrendous (over 90%) of unwed minority teenage and young adults who get pregnant and have no means of supporting the child, are in perpetual poverty and fuel the unending stream of offspring who fuel the juvenile and adult criminal crisis in the nation.

    • Larry Gillreath

      July 23, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      So very true Harold! And, thank you for saying it for all of us!

    • Laedo

      July 24, 2019 at 2:34 am

      Blacks can not move past the slavery issue for the simple fact that it is a pity party & they are the honored guest or at least thats what the Democrats have made there gullible a** think for a little welfare.

  • Laura James

    July 23, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    A civil war is coming, can’t go on like this.
    Very sad 😢

    • William

      July 23, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      If there is, it’ll end like the first. The seccessionists losing. But it won’t take four years this time.

    • Larry Gillreath

      July 23, 2019 at 8:58 pm

      I know. I feel your pain.

    • Angela Fickert

      July 24, 2019 at 8:19 am

      I agree, but this time the government isn’t going to start it. They are fueling (the already lit flame) but, they will not be funding it unlike the Civil War. The government made the decision and the soldiers were DRAFTED ours will join by choice. Does nobody understand what the draft! is and how it works?! These men were poor! They should be honored not disgraced for decision their government chose for them!

  • Laŕry Gillreath

    July 23, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Typical leftist Democrat Socialist politicians. Instead of working to solve the pressing problems that are plaguing us all right now, and that will only get worse in the future, they try instead to change history from 150 years, and further back, to please and mollify their political contributors.
    Plus, they want to destroy the evidence of all of the racist evil the Democrat Party did back in the day. Slavery, discrimination, segregation, lynching, & murder are the products resulting from the party that founded the Ku Klux Klan! Bull Connors who tried to stop voting-rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1960’s was a member of the DNC. It was Democrats who opposed the Voting Rights Act.
    And yet, they try to blame President Trump and Republicans for what they have done…and still do!

  • John B Thayer

    July 24, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Every Floridian feels a little bit Confederate, sometimes. We all have some of that old Rebel spirit. The Confederacy is all of us.

    • Angela Fickert

      July 24, 2019 at 8:33 am

      Excellently put John. BTW I’m from Illinois and I support the Confederate Army and the men who fought it. They should be preserved not destroyed!

  • Big chris

    July 24, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    William your welfare check didn’t arrive so get back to your crack pipe and return that stolen laptop to the rightful owner. Sambo

Comments are closed.


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