Fate of Confederate statue to be discussed

Published 1:10 pm Thursday, August 6, 2020

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In July, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a lengthy discussion and heard from several citizens about the fate of a Confederate statue that sits atop a pedestal in the courthouse square, but tabled making any decision.

At the request of Vice-Chairman Gary Walker, the issue was tabled, saying he felt no action should be taken until they held a public hearing.

According to County Administrator Dan Witt, since the issue was tabled, it is his intention to have this item on the Aug 10 agenda for discussion. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Charlotte County is just one of many localities that are now faced with if they should remove or leave Confederate statues after the legislature passed a law, that went into effect in July, allowing local governments to determine the fate of the statues on their own.

During its July 13 meeting, the BOS heard from several citizens who opposed the removal of the monument.

Ron Graves, commander of the Charlotte Gray Sons of Confederate Veterans, said, “What’s going on is unacceptable,” telling BOS members the monument’s history.

James Morton, wrote a letter to the BOS saying, “I think it is of utmost importance to remove the Charlotte County Confederate Monument.”

Morton said the issue was about government-sanctioned honoring of Confederate soldiers and not about erasing or hiding history.

“It’s about finding the right way to remember it,” Morton said. “If we want to remember this part of Southern history, we should do it in a museum, where people can learn about it while understanding the context of time.”

The Charlotte County Confederate Memorial was erected in 1902 and stands in tribute to the Confederate Soldiers of Charlotte County. The memorial bears the inscription:

“Gloria victis Charlotte county cherishes the memory of her heroes.

Erected under the auspices of H. A. C.”

The new law states a locality may remove, relocate, contextualize, or cover any such monument or memorial on the locality’s public property, not including a monument or memorial located in a publicly-owned cemetery, regardless of when the monument or memorial was erected.

The Aug 10 meeting of the BOS is not a public hearing to determine the fate of the Confederate statue however, citizens may comment about the issue during the public comment period.

According to Witt, due to the COVID-19 gathering restrictions, in-person attendance is strongly discouraged however, there is limited space available offered on a first-come, first serve basis, and citizens must sit in a designated seating area allowing for six feet of separation.