BRADENTON, Fla. --A movement across the country and here in the Bay area against symbols of the Confederacy may be appearing in Manatee County.
A monument in downtown Bradenton has stood for 93 years...and some wonder if its days are numbered.
Since 1924 countless number of people have walked by this marble monument at the historic courthouse in Bradenton.
Mark Casseus is asked if he knows what the monument sitting on the west side of the courthouse represents? “No don’t have a clue,” says Mark.
Albert Lyons is asked if he realized the monument was there. Anthony says, “No not particularly.”
Anthony Berry is also asked if he knows what the monument represents. “The Confederacy,” says Anthony. Does he have any objection to that monument? He says, “No.”
You have to get close to see the confederate flag at the base, the reference to Robert E Lee and words honoring confederate soldiers and the years marking the Civil War.
Does Mark find it offensive? “No it’s not offensive to me,” says Mark.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy paid for the monument and county commissioners 93 years ago approved placing it on public property.
“It would have been to memorialize their loved ones,” explains Nick Azzara, Information Outreach Manager for Manatee County Government.
“It’s probably celebrating a time in American history where men gave their life for what they believe in whether it was morally right or ethically right at the time,” adds Anthony.
Victor Manriquez says the monument doesn’t belong there. He says, “Not offensives to me personally there are people it offends for good reason. This is a war Americans killing Americans. I feel it should go in a museum with other stuff of that nature.”
The monument isn’t the only symbol of the confederacy in Manatee County there’s also the Gamble mansion the only surviving plantation house in all of South Florida. It's believed here the Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin took refuge waiting for his safe passage to England. Benjamin supported slavery. The mansion is a state park.
“Just let it be,” says Albert.
“The county commissioners and clerk’s offices across the street have not received any complaints about it at this time so it’s not an issue,” says Nick.
Mark says, “Whatever happened in the past is the past move forward from it not bother me. That there to me, I don’t care, it's not stopping me from living my life or raising my child or any of that, it's just a statue to me.”
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