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38 descendants of Confederate soldiers and generals file lawsuit to preserve monument

Haneifah Ahmad, Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – St. Augustine City Commission voted to have the oldest Confederate monument removed from the Plaza de la Constitution, until 38 descendants of Confederate soldiers filed a lawsuit to stop it.

This Civil War monument is 30-feet tall and lists the names of fallen soldiers. Many who wanted the monument to stay said that the monument honors the soldiers who did not have proper burials. According to the lawsuit, the descendants are worried that removing the historic relic might damage it in the process. 

Attorney David McCallister filed a separate lawsuit on June 22 in federal court to temporarily restrain the city from going forward with the process. The lawsuit was dismissed. Jill Pacetti, a direct descendant of a veteran on the memorial, filed the new lawsuit. Pacetti called Monday’s vote disheartening. 

“We just feel like to bring the memorial down because of a race issue is not going to bring the community together,” Pacetti said. “No one went through the necessary steps to even look at the architecture of the memorial. Can it be moved? Can it be taken apart?”

The petitioners are requesting a temporary hold of the process until the Historic Architectural Review Board can plan a safe removal. 

“This monument was a communal effort, public art, and social history…” the lawsuit stated. 

St. Augustine officials say they cannot guarantee the safety of large historic objects. According to Jenny Wolfe, St. Augustine’s historic preservation officer, it could take several weeks and more than $100,000 to remove the monument. 

Many who were in favor of the monument’s removal said the obelisk brought attention to slave history.

It is not decided where the monument will be moved.

___

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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Comments (4)

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  • R

    Richard hanksJul 5, 2020 at 8:28 am

    My ancestors weren’t southern born but what people have to realize is that many of the soldiers that fought on the side of the south with poor farmers and had no slaves. They fought for the land That they lived on not for the right to own slaves. This is not a way to respect and honor these men

  • A

    AugustJul 2, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    I do agree that having the monument remove will not bring the community together, but seeing the monument is showing the mindset of this community and it’s view of people of color. It’s like having a statue of the KKK because it’s history. A monument should represent love in the hearts of the people, not hatred and injustice. God wanted us to show love for one another. The monument is not a symbol of love but of injustice and division.

  • J

    JoanneJul 2, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Sign my name to the petition. Do not remove history!

  • D

    Dennis HoepnerJul 2, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    If the issue to the ancestors is that they were not given a proper burial then why not move the monument to a cemetery where it could be honored and respected with the other headstones which are for the same purpose.
    I would think that may satisfy the people that are offended to see it in our town square.
    Also $100,000 to remove it sounds somewhat steep. WOW