After requesting the removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith from the U.S. Capitol and replacing it with civil-rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said that the statue of the general would be placed as an exhibition at the Lake County Historical Society.
But moving the statue doesn’t sit well with some elected officials in Lake County. In fact, several mayors have signed a letter opposing the move bringing the statue to their area.
Mount Dora Mayor Nick Girone says he doesn’t want the statue in his community. Last week, members of the Mount Dora City Council supported a resolution against bringing the Kirby Smith statue to their city. The resolution states that General Kirby Smith had no connection with the town and the statue of the Confederate general “represents hate, hurt and the separation of families to the citizens of Mount Dora.”
But supporters of bringing the bronze statue to the community say it represents history, including Lake County Historical Society curator Bob Grenier. He noted that the Kirby Smith statue represented Florida at Statuary Hall in the Capitol since the 1920s. Grenier said this should be preserved and the museum should be allowed to host the statue to help educate the public.
“Our mission is to preserve history and relics so that future generations can learn from them,” said Grenier.
“There is no racial bias amongst the individuals running the museum,” he added.
Mount Dora City Council members said they plan to have a protest march against bringing in the statue.
Last year, a state panel listed proposed communities of where to relocate the statue and the Lake County Historical Society made the list.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.