The Pensacola City Council will consider Sept. 14 if the community should wade into a discussion concerning the fate of the city’s Confederate monument in Lee Square. If council members decided to schedule a meeting focused on the issue, that would be the first step toward potentially removing the monument.
In the wake of a white nationalists rally in Charlottesville, Va. — a protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee — that ended with the fatality of a counter protester, communities across the country, primarily in the South, have struggled with how to address their own Confederate monuments, as well as with what symbolism the monuments hold for various segments of society. In Pensacola, Mayor Ashton Hayward and at least two council members have expressed support for removing the monument in Lee Square; the council must now decide if it wants to pursue that path, which will require scheduling a special council meeting dedicated to the topic.
On August 26, both supporters and critics of Pensacola’s Confederate monument held dueling rallies in Lee Square. Throughout the day — in addition to lobbing barded comments across Palafox Street at one another — people from opposite ends of this debate engaged in conversations about the subject of Confederate monuments, why such monuments were erected and what they mean, as well as the issue of race in 2017-America.
These conversations — chronicled in part in this video — serve as a preview of the discussions the city of Pensacola may find itself in soon …
For background, read “Conversations in the Shadow of the Confederacy.”