Controversial St Pauls AME pastor organizing Monday rally

The chicken hawks engaged in the national debate over the preservation of historic monuments that honor figures connected to the American Civil War have come home to roost in St. Augustine.

At issue, the monument, complete with an image of the Confederate flag, located in Loring Park; recognizing the history of Confederate General William Wing Loring and his military service. Loring was raised in St. Augustine, and he was a veteran of the Seminole and Mexican wars as well as the Civil War. Loring’s ashes are buried there.

Also at issue, the obelisk monument erected by the Ladies Memorial Association of St. Augustine, honoring men who died “serving the Confederate state. The organization raised funds to build the memorial for Confederate soldiers.

Reverend Ron Rawls, pastor of the St. Paul AME Church, said that he is coordinating a discussion with city officials about the presence of the two Confederate monuments.

“I call upon the leadership of the City of St Augustine to redefine this city and make an expeditious but correct decision to no longer revere the shameful cause of these symbols by removing them from public spaces,” Rawls wrote in a social media post.

There has, thus far, been no discussion with City Manager John Regan about removing all monuments in the plaza. There are popular cannons from the Civil War donated to the City by the United States War Department and, of course, the public market; frequently, but inaccurately, referred to as the “slave market”.

Likewise, no one from the Sons of Confederate Veterans in St Augustine has asked the city manager to remove more recent monuments such as the “Foot Soldiers” memorial, Andrew Young’s footsteps, or the renaming of the intersection of St George and King Streets to “Andrew Young Crossing”.

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