BLM agitators, showing support for the controversial 3-2 split vote of the St Augustine City Commission earlier this month, were met with heavy opposition Sunday afternoon from surviving relatives and friends of the 46 local soldiers who died during combat in the American Civil War.
Two Facebook writers made reports reviewed by Historic City News confirming that the mostly white college student provocateurs, who have been the disciples of Gainesville preacher Ronald Rawls during similar events over the past 12-months, were outnumbered, by their estimates, at a ratio of about five-to-one.
“So proud of this group for coming together and showing up,” wrote Ricky Battell on his facebook after the event. “Aside from a few colorful expletives, we managed to stay pretty calm.”
The cenotaph was constructed in the Plaza de la Construction by volunteer members of the Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine in 1879. Local builders labored with the brick and coquina structure at no cost to city taxpayers. The Ladies raised the money to fully fund the project from donations at bake sales, sewing bees, and anywhere else they could find a table.
The appointed mayor, Tracy Upchurch, brought the idea to remove the memorial back to the city commission for consideration. Only two-years earlier, in a unanimous decision that included vice-mayor Leanna Freeman and commissioner Nancy Sikes Kline, the commissioners voted to keep the memorial in place, but entertained a compromise to add four new plaques for contextualization.
Luis Miguel, Jaime Dixon, Forrest Parham and other local patriots contributed to this article.