June 16, 2017


Subject: Orlando Update – Dixie Heritage News




In Orlando, “Johnny Reb” is officially coming down. The large marble monument, a fixture in Orlando’s Lake Eola Park for a century, is dedicated to honoring soldiers who lost their lives defending the Confederate States of America. But two years of public pressure from activists with “Organize Now” has finally convinced the City to move the monument to Greenwood Cemetery, despite overwhelming resistance from the public at every meeting where the issue has been deliberated, Orlando Weekly reports.


On Thursday, a city crew started preparations for the relocation, which was suggested by Mayor Buddy Dyer and approved by the City Council.


David Porter, a social justice warrior leading the charge to move Johnny Reb, told WESH he’s disappointed City officials didn’t move faster. to ensure it was gone before a remembrance ceremony for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre scheduled for the park on Monday.


The decision to remove Johnny Reb didn’t come without a fight. Confederate supporters and “history buffs” flooded the Orlando City Council meeting in May to voice their opposition to the move, though they were largely ignored, WESH 2 News reports.


Dixie Heritage reader David McCallister told commissioners that they’re setting a dangerous precedent for the treatment of military veterans, according to Orlando Weekly.


“Putting the monument away in a cemetery would be banishing it into the closet of obscurity,” McCallister said. “I didn’t think Orlando liked closets. A move like this would be seen as disuniting and offensive, and if you think otherwise, by all means, put it to a referendum.”


The council simply voted to banish the statue instead.


Benjamin Mills donned Confederate military clothing to the meeting, where he explained that his grandfathers fought in the Civil War but never owned slaves.


On Thursday, City workers took photographs of Johnny Reb in anticipation of its relocation, though City spokeswoman Cassandra Lafser told WKMG there’s no definitive timeline for the project.