Key West to Consider Name Change for Confederate Memorial

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Traffic flows on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway in Islamorada, Florida, toward Key West.
In this drone aerial photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, traffic flows on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway in Islamorada, Florida, toward Key West June 1, 2020. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — A city commissioner in Key West wants to replace the name of a memorial to fallen Confederate soldiers with the island's official motto declaring everyone equal.

On Sept. 16, the city commission will consider the proposal, which would change the name of the white pavilion with twin columns and nearby bandstand at Bayview Park to “One Human Family Pavilion," the Miami Herald reported.

The pavilion was installed by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1924.

Unlike in many other places, the Key West proposal seeks only to rename the memorial.

“It reclaims the space in an appropriate way,” Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman told the Herald. Kaufman has studied the memorial's history, and how it inspired a few Ku Klux Klan events in Key West over the years, including a parade in 1924 and a rally in 1992.

“It’s a place the Ku Klux Klan identified as their space, even up until 1992,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman said he isn’t calling to tear down the monument, noting it would be different if it were a statue of a Confederate leader. He's not even asking to remove the memorial’s dedication plaques.

“This is just a four-column structure,” Kaufman said. “Naming it the ‘One Human Pavilion,’ that accomplishes what we all want, to say hate is not accepted here. But it’s a good reminder we have to be vigilant.”

Back in 1924, the memorial was dedicated on Jan. 19, in honor of the birthday of Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“This one is almost benign,” said Commissioner Clayton Lopez. “If it were a statue hailing some person that was supposed to have been a war hero in the Civil War, then I would be tremendously against it.”

Lopez said the Confederate memorial tells the whole story of American history.

“It’s a dark part of Civil Rights history as well,” said Lopez, who is Black. “We know the Daughters of the Confederacy, that whole movement, was put in place to ‘remind’ Blacks of their station and their status.”

In October 2000, “One Human Family” was declared the island’s official philosophy.

This article was written by Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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