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Opinion: It’s time for Old Joe to move
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Downtown Gainesville's Old Joe statue has been damaged as the rifle barrel has been sawed off. - photo by Scott Rogers

It is fall in Gainesville, the weather is cooler, the leaves are falling from the trees and this allows us to go to the square in downtown Gainesville and see “Old Joe” in all his glory. 

I think this is the nickname of the statue on top of the marble pedestal erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1909 to honor the soldiers that fought to destroy the United States and to perpetuate the institution of slavery. The engraving on the front of the pedestal says “To the Defenders of the Confederacy, Patriots” 

This is 2021; that disastrous war was 160 years ago and the times have changed. In Richmond, Virginia, the statue of Robert E. Lee — he led the armies of the Confederacy — has been removed from the center of the city; in Decatur, the obelisk honoring the Confederacy has been removed from the center of town; and in Atlanta, the “Henry Grady High School” has been renamed “Midtown High” because Henry Grady was a racist.  

I think it is time to move “Old Joe” from the center of the city to a place where he is not an embarrassment to citizens who are a bit more enlightened, and a lot less racist, than those who erected the statue. 

I’m sure there is a back corner of some cemetery where “Old Joe” can sit peacefully. 

Howard Stacy

Gainesville

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