ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - For the first time, we’re hearing from the people in charge of adding context to St. Augustine’s Confederate monuments.
They jumped right in with ideas and suggestions during their first meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.
Committee member Dr. Mike Butler pointed out that other cities have dealt with contextualization in the past and suggested the group take a look at what other cities did, to get ideas.
There are two Confederate monuments in downtown St. Augustine, but only one falls under the purview of the city.
The city decided not to take the monuments down after heated debate over the issue. Instead, they created the contextualization committee to bring the monuments into historical context.
Each of the seven members brings something different to the table. The committee is made up of history experts, community leaders and people of different races and genders.
Dr. Tom Graham, a retired Flagler College history professor, is one of the members of the committee.
“I hope that this will widen the public’s knowledge of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period and our local history,” Graham said.
“I think we all understand the seriousness of our task and of our job and that is to tell the history as it was in context,” Butler said.
St. Johns County recreation supervisor Thomas Jackson was selected as the chairman of the committee, and the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center director Regina Phillips was selected as Vice-Chair.
“I think we can get it done, but it’s a matter of agreeing on what needs to be said,” Jackson said.
Each member has a lot of work ahead, but they can all agree on one thing, and that is a commitment to telling the whole story.
The committee has until May to come up with the proper context. It plans to meet every first and third Wednesday at 3 p.m. at City Hall.
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