Local NAACP leader pushes to remove Hernando Confederate statue

The head of the NAACP in Hernando County is pledging to start a movement to get Hernando County's monument to Confederate soldiers removed.

"I get determined," Paul Douglas explained.

Douglas has heard the arguments that the statue, whose inscription partially reads, "They died and were the gray, leaving to posterity a glorious heritage," represents an unchangeable history. 

What matters to him is that hundreds of these monuments were put up in the early 1900s, just as Jim Crow laws were taking hold, lynchings were taking place and there was an attempt to separate slavery from the Confederacy and Civil War.

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He's especially motivated because of the bevy of Confederate symbols that have come down since the killing of George Floyd, including in Jacksonville.

"It is just the matter of sticking with it," he said of his effort.

Douglas has tried to get the statue removed before. Three years ago, county commissioners voted to put a fence around it to keep it from being vandalized. 

This time, he's promising to try the court system.

"I will pay to move the statue, the NAACP will," he said. "And take it down to the memorial cemetery or to the museum. They would not have to pay anything."

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In 2017, just as Hillsborough's Confederate statue was being taken down, the Brooksville statue was guarded by those who cited "southern pride." 

Historian and College of Charleston professor Adam Domby says statues are symbolic of who controls public space, and that convincing governments to remove them achieves the following goal:

"Correcting the narrative is part of the larger struggle to help people realize that racism still exists."

As Douglas prepares his lawsuit, he still has lofty expectations for his community.  

"To become an upstanding, freedom-loving, not offending county," he said.

Douglas says he will speak at the commission meeting on Tuesday, but commissioners tell FOX 13 there are no plans to hold a vote.
They also say they have agreed to dedicate a statue in honor of African American history.
County administration had no comment on the issue.