Two days after Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward said in an Aug. 16 radio interview that he intended to remove the Confederate monument in Lee Square, the city has issued a statement clarifying the remarks.
Hayward said during the interview that he originally wanted to remove the monument unilaterally, but then realized it was a more involved process. The mayor has joined a number of elected officials in locations around the country that have voiced their support of removing Confederate monuments, or have removed them already, in the wake of a deadly Charlottesville, Va., event Aug. 12 in which a gathering of white nationalists protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue clashed with counter-demonstrators.
Here is the mayor’s clarification statement in full: “Since my remarks Wednesday morning about the monument in Lee Square, stories have circulated that plans are being developed to remove the monument from the square. I want to reassure everyone that that is not the case. While I stated that if the decision to move the monument was up to me, I would have it moved, I also said that there is a process that has to be followed. Simply put, this is not a decision that is mine to make unilaterally, and it is not one that I would want to make unilaterally. While my opinion has not changed – the monument should be moved or put in its proper context – I am not advocating for unilateral action. There is an existing City Council policy that addresses the preservation of historical resources and it would be wise to follow it. In that policy, the City Council declared its intent to protect the historical resources of the City to the maximum extent possible, to enable the citizens to participate, to the maximum extent possible, in any decision to move a historical resource located on city property, and to take no final action for a minimum of 30 days after an item is introduced to Council. I see no reason to deviate from the policy and every reason to adhere to it.”
For more information, read “Confederate Dead? What Will Become of Pensacola’s Civil War Memorial?”