HCYD STATEMENT ON THE CONFEDERATE MONUMENT AT THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY COURTHOUSE
TAMPA, Fla. (June 27, 2017) — The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners have voted 4-3 to retain the Confederate monument currently standing in front of the county courthouse. The monument was dedicated in 1911 with a keynote speech from state attorney Herbert S. Phillips. In the course of his speech, Phillips said “…the South detests and despises all […] who, in any manner, encourages social equality with an ignorant and inferior race.”
Memorials are erected to celebrate an achievement or to praise those who fought for a better world. Hillsborough County Young Democrats reject the notion that a confederacy of slave states represents a better world. We therefore reject a monument praising the fight to establish a new nation of slave states.
Commissioners Crist, Hagan, Murman, and White have attempted in several ways to deflect attention from the fact that they voted to retain a symbol of oppression. They voted to retain a symbol put in place to intimidate black Americans and to discourage them from pushing back against subjugation and disenfranchisement. They voted to retain a symbol of segregation in front of the halls of justice. By clinging to the vestiges of Jim Crow, these Republicans distance themselves from the tradition of Lincoln and align themselves with the Southern Strategy and with the 20th-century fight against civil rights. Theirs is no longer the party of Lincoln.
Of the statue itself, we say: take it down.