Hillsborough County commissioners vote to relocate Confederate statue to private cemetery

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 17:14:04-04

On Wednesday afternoon, Hillsborough County commissioners voted 4-2 to relocate the Confederate statue from the Old County courthouse in Tampa to the Brandon Family Cemetery. 

"Times have changed. Truly times have changed," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller.

The name 'Memoria En Aeterna' means 'In Everlasting Remembrance.'

"The Civil War is a burden of history we should never forget but never celebrate," said Hillsborough County Clerk of Court Pat Frank.

The vote means moving the memorial to a private cemetery away from public eyes.

"When we talk about a monument that oppresses and denies people their freedom, justice and equality, why should we stand for that," one speaker told Commission.

More than one hundred people waited hours to have their say.

"Monuments such as this one help to create reconciliation after one of the most painful war in U.S. history," said Justin Waters.

"We are not trying to erase history that monument and plaque that's next to it are revisionist history," said Jason Eames.

"This is only the beginning. The left is trying to remove anything and everything they don't agree with and it must not be allowed," said Paul Vacarro.

In late June, commissioners voted to keep the statue in place outside the Old County Courthouse in downtown Tampa.

But Commissioner Sandy Murman says she's changed her mind for fiscal reasons, only helping set up a GoFund Me page to raise $200,000 in relocation costs.

"I was not in favor of using tax dollars to relocate this statue," she said.

Commissioner Victor Crist, who originally voted to keep the memorial in place, was absent for the vote on family vacation.

The final vote was 4 to 2.

'Johnny Reb' will be moved to Brandon Family Cemetery thanks to the family who owns the land.

Protestors say the move is long overdue.

"Tampa was embarrassed before the whole nation when our County Commission voted to keep the racist monument to the Confederacy," said Sidney Eastman.

"I think Tampa is taking a step in the right direction-- that's what I think," said Jai Passmore.

During the meeting, Hillsborough County resident Tom Skarritt offered to raise money to relocate the Confederate Memorial. Click here for the GoFundMe.

Commissioner Murman said she was in favor of moving the memorial if cost wasn't on taxpayers.