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Opinion: Old Joe should be destroyed along with inequality
06012020 PROTEST 12.jpg
People take to downtown Gainesville Sunday, May 31, 2020, on the second night of protests in Gainesville that blocked traffic and resulted in vandalism on the square. - photo by Scott Rogers

“Old Joe” must go. The Confederacy only lasted for four years, from 1861 to 1865. Why then did our city modify a Spanish-American War statue to be a Confederate Monument in 1909? Why is this statue still at the center of our city, on display for all to remember this small chapter of our history?  

The Confederacy was a shameful group of slave supporters who violently resorted to any means necessary to protect their wealth. They convinced poor Southern whites that their cause was “state’s rights,” which we now know is a thin veil for state’s rights to own human beings, force them into unpaid labor and profit from their suffering.  

The vast majority of Confederate monuments were built between the 1890s and the 1950s — Gainesville’s statue fitting perfectly into that time window.  

This time is the textbook era of Jim Crow segregation, created to maintain the status quo of racial inequality. Is this what Gainesville wants to commemorate in our city square? Is this what we want our tax dollars to pay for — maintaining a symbol of white supremacy?  

Tyler Dalton Moye, who is accused of painting “KKK” on the statue, is a brave person that valiantly took a stand for what this statue truly represents — white supremacy and racial violence.  

This statue should be moved to a historical center for those who truly want to “preserve history,” even though history has already been preserved in many other forms. In my opinion, this statue should be destroyed, along with all forms of racial inequality.  

Lauren English 
Gainesville 

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