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Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Lake City Logo: Fair, Balanced, Symbol of Hate? Last Night in City Hall, the Discussion Began

LAKE CITY, FL – Last night in Lake City's City Hall, a decade and-a-half after City Councilman Eugene Jefferson led the charge which nixed the idea of removing the Confederate Battle Flag from the City logo, the discussion began again. Lifetime Lake City resident Glynnell Presley, a lifetime member of the NAACP and past president of the Lake City branch, moved by the recent events in South Carolina, appeared before the City Council and asked that the logo depicting the Confederate Battle Flag be removed from City property.

Lifetime resident Bruce Borders said the logo should stay as it is. Mr. Borders, also referring to the events in SC told the Council, "This guy was a sick guy – a sicko. That Confederate flag did not cause him to kill nine people."

Glynnell Presley

Mr. Presley introduced himself to the City Council, "I'm Glynnell Presley. I'm here to address this board tonight in reference to the City of Lake City logo."

He continued, "A logo speaks to all of those who look at it. We have quite a few visitors that come into our city. You can bet that they look at that logo."

Mr. Presley spoke about the Battle of Olustee: "The African-Americans who were maimed or left wounded, but living, were killed because the colonel, his name was McCormick, gave the Confederate soldiers orders to take no colored prisoners. All the blacks left on that battlefield were killed. The City of Lake City has chosen as its identity a Confederate victory that did not occur in Lake City. It occurred in Olustee, that's in Baker County, not Columbia County."

Referring to the events in South Carolina, Mr. Presley said, "[In] The recent tragedy that occurred in South Carolina we had nine African-American Christian persons killed by a deranged individual. Nine blacks killed -- Christians.

Mr. Presley explained that the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capital. Mr. Presley said that others who had also defended the flag now want to have it removed to a museum.

Mr. Presley spoke about the Confederate flag: "Quite a few African-Americans and others look at the Confederate flag as one of meanness and hatred... I remember when the civil rights movement started, that's the time that you saw those flags. I'm 83 years old. I can tell you, coming up, you didn't see that Confederate flag that much... I've listened - Wal-Mart, Target, they've said they're not going to sell any Confederate merchandise."

Mr. Presley said, "We are much more than you see on the logo that we have. Whatever you need to do to fix this, I think that needs to be done."

Mr. Presley concluded, "I’m asking the Council at the next meeting that you – I don’t know if you want to put it on the agenda or – something needs to be done. That’s why I’m here. That’s what I’m askin’ of you."

Mr. Presley asked the City Manager, Mayor and Council if they had any questions. There was silence.

Mayor Witt looked at the audience, "Would anybody like to address the council at this time?"

Bruce Borders Came to the Microphone

Mr. Borders introduced himself: "I'm Bruce Borders. I go back eight generations right here in the same place. My family fought for the Confederacy. I am the only re-enactor that's left that's done every battle of the Battle of Olustee... I am the only person in the United States that has a black Confederate unit. They are from one great all the way up to four great-grandfathers fought for the Milton Light Artillery. The majority of them comes out of Fort White, Florida."

Mr. Borders explained that the Union tried "five major times to take our capitol. And you know who was in every one of them wars [battles]? Black Confederates."

Mr. Borders continued, "The Confederates never did lose a battle in the state of Florida. Florida was the only state east of the Mississippi that they did not take their capitol. Florida did never surrender to the Union."

Mr. Borders spoke about the role of the black Confederate soldier, "Another thing about the black Confederates. The Union soldiers put their blacks up on front. They wiped them completely out at Olustee, the Big Fourth Massachusetts. The Confederates - the whites and the blacks - fought together."

Mr. Borders also brought up the tragedy in SC, "As the man mentioned before, this guy was a sick guy - a sicko. That Confederate flag did not cause him to kill nine people."

Mr. Borders also mentioned that the shooter in South Carolina also "burnt an American flag -- you hear what I said? If they take the Confederate flag and the monuments and the statues and all that down, the next thing they are going to do is take that flag." Mr. Borders pointed to the American flag behind the City Council.

"I'm a Vietnam veteran. I fought for that flag, too," he said.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Borders took his seat.

Part II Coming at midnight: post-meeting conversation with Glynnell Presley; City Manager Johnson – what's next?; and Eye on the Lake City Reporter.

Mayor Witt asked if there was anyone else who would like to address the Council. There being none, the other business of the Council continued.

Comments (to add a comment go here)

On July 21, 2015, Rudolph Davis wrote:

The Confederate flag has never hurt or killed anyone, and many people may see it as a sign of heritage or to honor past family members, but at the end of the day, for many people, it does cause division, because many people see it as a symbol of hate.

But to love one another means that if something offends your brother, even though you don't see anything wrong with it, for the sake of love and peace, you should remove the things that are causing division, if you have godly love for others.

One of my favorite scriptures are, "don't let your good be evil spoken of," which means you could be doing the right thing but for the wrong reason, and it should not be on any property where the taxpayers are paying the bills, and my personal belief is, if it's history, put it where it belongs, in a museum or in a book.

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On July 21, 2015, CS of Lake City wrote:

In response to Mr. Borders and others defending the Confederate flag: If you want to celebrate bondage, oppression and the worst that humanity can do to one another, go ahead. But, I do not want my tax dollars that I spend in Lake City promoting the symbol of slavery that is the Confederate flag.

The original documents of the Confederacy state plainly that they will not be hampered over slavery. In the second line of Georgia's secession papers, "For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery."

Georgia continues with why is it seceding, ". . . A brief history of the rise, progress, and policy of anti-slavery . . . will fully justify the pronounced verdict of the people of Georgia. . .The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party. . . It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party. . . anti-slavery is its mission and its purpose."

Mississippi also states in the first half of their secession papers, "We should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization."

From the Confederate Constitution, "direct taxes shall be apportioned . . .which may be included . . . which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including. . . three-fifths of all slaves." Slaves were not 100% people to the Confederacy, they were tools for "commerce", like railroad tracks or cotton seeds.

Please remember what you are celebrating if you choose to fly the Confederate flag; oppression, bondage, and hate. Just listen to what's coming out of the horse's mouth, it will tell you all you need to hear.

 

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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