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Florida Slavery Memorial back up for discussion in Tallahassee

McGhee Kionne


State House members wasted no time this week in reviving a proposal for a Florida Slavery Memorial near the Capitol, an idea that stalled amid some controversy at the end of the 2017 session last spring.

Now several months later, the proposal — sponsored by Miami Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee — takes on new meaning against a backdrop of the growing racial divide across America and of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., during the summer over the removal of a Confederate statue there.

“It sends a signal to the entire country that Florida is willing to take a step — like it has always done in certain circumstances — in the right direction. We lead by example. We are Florida,” McGhee said after his bill (HB 67) swiftly passed its first of three House committees by a unanimous vote Wednesday morning. (The bill was the first piece of legislation considered by the House government oversight committee ahead of the 2018 session.)

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: “A senator said a Florida Slavery Memorial would ‘celebrate defeat.’ Lawmakers are furious.”

McGhee said the debate over whether symbols of the Confederacy — including one on the Florida Capitol grounds — ought to be removed is a separate issue from the Florida Slavery Memorial he wants built. But the two matters are nonetheless intertwined in the broader national discussion on race.

Full story here.

Photo credit: Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami [Florida House]