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."
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.