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NAACP seeks partnership to relocate confederate statue

Posted at 11:17 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 23:17:41-04

FORT MYERS, Fla., -- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is seeking a partnership with the Daughters of Confederacy to relocate the Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Fort Myers. 

“This is my nightmare, this is not a symbol of beauty," says James Muwakkil, NAACP President of the local Fort Myers chapter.

Muwakkil sent a letter to the United Daughters of the Confederacy asking for a partnership with relocating the Robert E. Lee bust on Monroe St. The letter details the NAACP wants the UDC to "recognize the difficulty and pain these monuments engender  among African-Americans."

The NAACP President tells Fox 4, local chapters are encouraged to partner with organizations that have differing views and hopes to find a "middle ground" on the statue. 

"We’re not saying tear it down," said Muwakkil. "Because some people care about it, okay, that matters to us.”  

While the UDC has yet to respond to the letter. Fox 4 reached out twice by phone and email and did not hear back. 

Muwakkil explains the statue represents a long history of oppression for the black community. 

"To us," he said pointing to the statue. "[It's] slavery, murder, segregation, Jim Crow, [and the] Ku Klux Klan.”

He says it is the City of Fort Myers that is in charge of the relocation of the statue. The City gave this statement to Fox 4: 

“The City is supportive of a partnership between NAACP and Daughters of the Confederacy to address relocation of the statue.”

The NAACP plans on filing a request for the issue to be on the agenda at a city council meeting early next week.