The controversy over monuments to slavery and other historical crimes has come to the Tampa Bay area, as a movement to remove a Confederate memorial in Hillsborough county has gained strength in recent weeks.
The monument in question doesn’t just honor some of the dead who fought for the perpetuation of slavery, but was erected to honor white supremacy, as the keynote speaker at the 1911 unveiling of the monument said.
"The South stands ready to welcome all good citizens who seek to make their homes within her borders. But the South detests and despises all, it matters not from whence they came, who, in any manner, encourages social equality with an ignorant and inferior race."
A vote in the Hillsborough County commission, who have the power to remove the monument, failed to do so last month. In the wake of that failure the Tampa Bay Rays expressed support for the removal of the statue, while noting that it was not their call to make. The Tampa Bay Lightning put out a milquetoast statement that said absolutely nothing, and the Bucs initially did not respond.
“We support the removal of the Confederate memorial.”
“We do not believe it is a true and accurate depiction of the values that make Tampa such a great, progressive city,”
Good for the Bucs. A monument celebrating slavery and white supremacy is a bad idea, and removing it shouldn’t be that difficult. Speaking as a historian, that’s not a call to erase history, but to teach all of it. A momument celebrates and enshrines one view of that history, instead of providing the context and full understanding of historical events.
And before anyone accuses me of hypocrisy: the same is true for many, many monuments to enslavers and colonialists in Europe, too.