County leaders to decide future of Tampa Confederate monument

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The fight over what to do with a century-old Confederate monument in downtown Tampa could come to an end Wednesday. 

Hillsborough County commissioners are set to vote again on whether to move the monument from in front of the Old Hillsborough County Courthouse.

The Commission voted 4-3 last month to keep the monument, called Memoria en Aeterna, in place.

Commissioner Victor Crist is out of town and won’t be at the meeting on Wednesday, according to his office.

His absence could lead to a 3-3 vote if no one changes their position.

Crist said a private cemetery has tentatively agreed to take the 106-year-old monument if the Commission decides to have it moved.

Commissioner Les Miller has been part of a vocal effort along with members of Hillsborough Community Protection Coalition to remove the statue.

“This is not about trying to rewrite history,” Miller said.

Demonstrators and elected officials joined Miller Tuesday outside the courthouse to put pressure on commissioners to vote in their favor.

“I know I’ll be voting the same way, but I also know that tomorrow we’ll have a commission that will vote the same way and that this statue will be removed,” Commissioner Pat Kemp said.

Andy Strickland, a supporter of the monument and immigration attorney in St. Petersburg, was at the event alone voicing his concerns.

“I would like to have this to a county-wide vote. Let the people of this county decide what should happen to this monument,” Strickland said.

Local leaders remain hopeful the commission will vote in favor of relocation.

“When people come to this courthouse, they expect fairness and equality and to be treated as equals. This monument here tells you of a time and celebrates a time where that was not true,” Rep. Sean Shaw said.

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