Hillsborough commissioners vote 7-0 to remove Confederate flag

By Cait McVey, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 4:28 PM

Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously passed a motion to remove a Confederate flag from the county government center lobby.

The flag has been hanging in the lobby of the Frederick B. Clark County Center for 20 years, along with flags of the United States, Great Britain, France and Spain – all national flags that have hung over Hillsborough County at one time or another.

Commissioner Les Miller, the lone black commissioner, led the flight to remove the flag in the wake of last month’s deadly attack at an historic African-American church in Charleston. S.C.

The suspect in the slaying, Dylann Roof, had posed with symbols of the Confederacy, reigniting an old debate about the appropriateness of the flag hanging in or near public buildings.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County commissioners became the latest body to vote to remove the flag from public view. The vote was taken after speakers from the public spoke on both issues, and it was unanimous even though Commissioner Stacy White opposed its removal.

“The issue of the day is the Confederate flag, but what might it be tomorrow?” he said. “We should be a board that seeks historical correctness, not political correctness.”

White said he ultimately supported its move to the history center over being destroyed.

The decision brought tears to Miller’s eyes.

“We can’t erase history, and that’s not what I’m trying to do,” he said. “I’m trying to put history in it’s place.”

The flag in question is the third variation of the Confederate banner, the final one adopted by the Confederacy before its defeat. But Miller said before Wednesday’s meeting the flag didn’t belong with the others.

“The other flags that are there are sovereign nations that governed Hillsborough County and the state of Florida,” he said. “The Confederacy was never a sovereign nation,” Miller said.

He proposed the flags be moved to a history museum, which he feels is a more appropriate spot, given the mixed feelings on the Confederate flag.

The flag will be taken down Thursday at noon.