NewsLocal News


Ft. Myers Mayor: City does not own Robert E. Lee statue

Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 08:11:29-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The fight over a bust of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in downtown Fort Myers is shifting to city hall.

A civil rights group is asking the Fort Myers city council to move the bust into a museum or Confederate cemetery.  But Monday, dozens of supporters of the statue pleaded with city council not to move the bust of General Lee from its current location on Monroe Street, which is city property.

However, the city says they didn't put this statue up and have no control over it being taken down.

H.K. Edgerton is a black man who wants to keep Lee's statue downtown, and he's taking heat for it.  "I've had more names called on me, that I've called Wikipedia to come on down here, because I got some new words that I heard."

Edgerton and others say removing the bust of General Lee insults the contributions blacks made to the Confederacy.

A statue not too far the bust of General Lee in Centennial Park does commemorate black Confederate soldiers.

"Plain cabin black folk from plantations all over southland of America made all the implements of war, provided all the food for General Lee's army," says Edgerton.

But local NAACP chapter president James Muwakkil says the Confederate battle cross and images of Robert E. Lee is a reminder of slavery and decades of Jim Crow-era laws which followed the Civil War.

"This is my nightmare, not a symbol of beauty," says Muwakkil.

He is asking the Daughters of the Confederacy to work with them on moving the statute from Monroe Street to a different location.  "We are reaching out across the aisle, hoping for support."

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson says he's encouraging the Daughters of the Confederacy and the NAACP to work on a solution for this statute.

The Daughters of the Confederacy can only move it.  We reached out to them last week and haven't heard back.