Confederate statue removed in Gainesville

A 113-year-old Confederate statue nicknamed "Old Joe" that stood in front of the Alachua County administration building was removed Monday morning with little fanfare.

The divisive move was the latest in the removal of Confederate statues across the nation and Florida and comes on the heels of a deadly weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia where a vehicle plowed into counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally which opposed the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville.

32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed, along with two troopers who died when a helicopter monitoring the rally crashed. Dozens of others were injured.

Recently, more than a hundred people spoke at a Hillsborough County Commission meeting on both sides of the debate before commissioners reversed their initial decision and ultimately decided to remove and relocate the Confederate monument in front of the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa.  

Those who oppose the move of Confederate statues say history is being removed, but supporters like County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson tell The Gainesville Sun that removing the statue is not about rewriting history. “The history is the history and I don’t think we are trying to reinterpret it any more than the statue is trying to reinterpret it,” he said.

In Gainesville, workers first jack-hammered around the base, then a crane was used to lift the copper statue and parts of the pedestal into a truck. The rest of the base was moved as "Old Joe" lay in the grass nearby. 

There was little protest during the statue's removal, though Gainesville police were standing by just in case, The Gainesville Sun reported. 

County officials were not sure where the statue was headed, but it was donated to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which helped construct the statue in 1904.