Gainesville, Fla: The Confederate soldier statue in downtown Gainesville that has drawn a lot of controversy since last year will not be relocated anytime soon.
The Veterans Service Advisory Board unanimously decided that Old Joe, the statue’s nickname, should not be moved from its current location outside of the Alachua County Administration Office.
The century-old figure has been the subject of heated debate since the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015. After the shooter’s association with white supremacy and confederate symbols was revealed, multiple monuments like Old Joe received a lot of negative attention.
The statue sits on a pillar which reads, “In Memory of the Confederate Dead,” with a confederate flag engraved below the lettering.
Protesters has issue with celebrating the Confederate flag on public property while proponents of the statue’s current location argue that Old Joe is a memorial to civil war veterans and not a statement about slavery.
Seber Newsome, one of the six people who came to the meeting to defend the statue, drove two hours from Yulee in order to attend it. He originally heard about the statue through the organization Save Southern Heritage Florida.
Ever since Newsome discovered his civil war veteran ancestry, he has been defending southern heritage and confederate monuments throughout Florida. He agrees that the statues do not in any way promote slavery, but rather serve as metaphorical tombstones for those soldiers…