Lauderdale County Commission says Florence City Council to decide Confederate monument’s fate

The United Daughters of the Confederacy said they donated the monument to the city of Florence.

Posted: Jun 22, 2020 8:21 PM
Updated: Jun 22, 2020 10:46 PM

Monday night, the Lauderdale County Commission said the decision to remove a Confederate monument is up to Florence City Council members, not them.

The Confederate monument sits on Lauderdale County Courthouse grounds. A 2017 law prevents monuments from being moved if they’ve been somewhere for more than 40 years.

Monday night's Lauderdale County Commission meeting it started with Commission Chairman Danny Pettus reading a letter from the United Daughters of the Confederacy saying their group donated the monument to the city of Florence, not the county, in the 1900s.

So now the vote on possibly removing it will be up to city council members.

"Private funds have been committed to pay the fine and relocation," said Florence Mayor Steve Holt.

Holt said he thinks city council members will vote to relocate the monument to Soldiers Rest cemetery in Florence.

"It's been interesting to hear the emotion on both sides but again to me that's why soldiers rest is the absolute best location for it," said Holt.

Holt said back when the monument was donated there was discussions about having the monument at Soldiers rest from the start but it didn't happen.

The new information that the monument is city property didn't come until people were addressing the county commission about it.

"That thing is standing right there in front of a judicial building, are you not ashamed?" said one man who stood up to address the county commission about the monument.

Not everyone wants to see the monument go.

"Don't give in to the mob because it's not about monuments," said Amanda Germann.

Activists have protested and asked for this monument to be removed said they hope Florence City Council members will do the right thing.

"We have a responsibility to this community to see this process all the way through until the end until we see the cranes and the monument actually physically coming down that's our responsibility to the community," said activist, Camille Bennett.

The next Florence city council meeting is July 7th.

Holt said the tricky part will be safely removing the monument due to it's substantial weight. Nothing is official until city council members vote to remove it or keep it.

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