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County commission to discuss reinstalling Confederate monument

BRADENTON – On Tuesday, Jan. 31, the Manatee County Commission will discuss reinstalling a Confederate memorial monument that was removed from its downtown Bradenton location in 2017.

The monument stood in front of the Manatee County Historic Courthouse near the Manatee County Judicial Center. The two buildings share a public courtyard.

According to the meeting agenda, county commission authorization will be sought for County Administrator Scott Hopes or his designee to reinstall the monument at its previous location on the courthouse property.

In August 2017, a large protest and counter-protest took place at the monument location with many sides of the Confederate monument debate represented.

County commission to discuss reinstalling Confederate monument
In 2017, many protestors called for the removal of the Confederate monument. – Joe Hendricks | Sun
County commission to discuss reinstalling Confederate monument
In 2017, many protest attendees expressed support for the Confederate monument. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Before the scheduled protest occurred, the county commission voted 6-1 to encase the monument in a plywood shell to protect it from vandalism.

County commission to discuss reinstalling Confederate monument
Dressed in tactical gear, these Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies protected the monument that was enclosed in plywood before the 2017 protest took place. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

After the protest, on Aug. 22, the county commission voted 4-3 in favor of removing the monument at an undisclosed time, in part for public safety purposes. The work crew tasked with removing the monument dropped it and it fractured into at least three pieces around 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 24.

The fractured monument was placed in storage until a new and potentially more suitable location could be found. Several alternate locations were later proposed and rejected, including Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, where Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin took refuge during the Civil War, and the 1850 Manatee Burying Ground, where Confederate soldiers are buried. The monument currently remains in storage. During past discussions, county staff said the monument would be repaired on-site when reinstalled or relocated.

The monument was erected in 1924 with county commission approval by the Judah P. Benjamin Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The monument features inscriptions on all four sides.

One side says, “Erected by the Judah P. Benjamin Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy June 3, 1924,” with the name of Confederate Gen. “Stonewall Jackson” inscribed below.

County commission to discuss reinstalling Confederate monument
An inscription on the Confederate monument references the Judah P. Benjamin Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy and another includes the phrase, “Lest We Forget.”

One side of the monument says, “1861-1865, Lest We Forget,” with the name of the president of the Confederacy, “Jefferson Davis,” inscribed below.

One side of the monument says, “Calm and Noble in Peace. Courageous and Chilvalrous (sic) in War. True to the Best Traditions of the South. The Confederate Soldier Lives Enshrined in the Hearts of His Grateful Countrymen.”

In that inscription, the word chivalrous is misspelled and the name of Confederate Gen. “Robert E. Lee” is inscribed below.

County commission to discuss reinstalling Confederate monument
One side of the monument features an inscription that includes the phrase, “True to the Best Traditions of the South.” – Joe Hendricks | Sun
County commission to discuss reinstalling Confederate monument
One side of the monument includes the likeness of the Confederate flag. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

One side of the monument features an inscription of a Confederate flag and says, “In Memory of Our Confederate Soldiers.”

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