BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The City of Daytona Beach is following the lead of many Southern cities by moving controversial Confederate reminders.
On Aug. 18, city staffers took down three markers dedicated to locals who fought and died for the Confederate military during the Civil War.
The markers were located at Riverfront Park in downtown Daytona.
City officials believe it’s the right move.
“They don’t have a positive place in the future of our city. They are divisive artifacts that would be best housed in a museum. We try to make the best decisions in the interest of the community. I think as a tourist destination and city, these artifacts are better off in a museum,” Mayor Derrick Henry explained.
Developments in Charlottesville, Virginia two weeks ago where White supremacists clashed with police killing also sparked the move.
“Following the violence in Charlottesville, the city manager asked staff about any Confederate markers or monument in our parks. He decided to have them removed from public property.
Mayor Henry was supportive of the decision,” added Susan Cerbone, the city’s spokesperson.
The city handed the markers over to the Halifax Historical Society, who will place them on display in the Halifax Historical Museum, located at 225 S. Beach St.
The Halifax Historical Museum did not respond to the Daytona Times’ request for information on how the markers will be displayed by the newspaper’s deadline.
Feedback for the city has been mixed on the matter and even the mayor has gotten some flak and backlash on his Facebook page.
“We’ve had mixed feedback and people feel strongly on both sides. Some believe that removing these is disturbing the heritage and history of our country. Others feel that the Confederacy lost the war and there is no need to glorify them rebellion against our Union,” noted Henry.
Most of the Confederate markers and monuments across the country were built in the late 1890s, about three decades after the Civil War.
In the 1940s and 1950s, more were built during Jim Crow. During that time, laws were enacted that imposed racial oppression and segregation.
Residents like the rest of the nation have mixed thoughts on removing the statues and monuments.
“The issue that I have with the statues is that I don’t understand why people thing honoring a person who fought for the Confederacy against the United States is worth honoring. I don’t understand why Whites think honoring them is so important,” commented Brian Moore.
Moore, who is Black, further stated, “It’s just a way of propping up racism and White supremacy.
Look at this! What if in the U.S. we put up monuments and statues of Japanese who fought against America during World War II?
“When a nation loses a war to another, the victorious nation doesn’t erect monuments and honor the enemy,’’ he added.
Understanding both sides
Daniel Humphrey is a White resident who sees both sides of the issue.
“Both sides have points. I see if it’s statues to (Robert E.) Lee and other generals and Confederate leaders. When it comes to soldiers who fought and died on either side, I’d rather leave theirs alone,” he remarked.
“Most of those who fought in the Civil War didn’t really know why they were fighting. They were fighting because their leaders told them too. Most soldiers fight wars because their leaders tell them too. Also, many of these statues were erected during the Jim Crow era,” Humphrey explained.
A Black woman, Emani Cartwright, cites history and racism behind Confederate monuments.
She noted, “It’s history and should be shown. It also shows what Florida really stands for as well as the rest of the U.S. These markers and statues do have racial connotations. They are openly saying that racism is OK, especially Whites who have no problem showing what this stands for. You can’t hide the truth.”