Meet the Republican descendant of a Confederate soldier who is blocking Florida’s first slavery memorial
TALLAHASSEE — A proposal to create the first slavery memorial in Florida unanimously passed the state House on Friday with roaring applause — but its prospects in the Senate are uncertain after one committee chairman stalled the legislation over a “philosophical objection” to the concept.
Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley — the chairman of the Senate Government Oversight & Accountability Committee to which the bill was assigned — never scheduled a hearing to consider the bill calling for a Florida Slavery Memorial near the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Baxley, who is known for supporting the display of symbols honoring his Confederate heritage, saidFriday he wants “to celebrate people. I don’t want to celebrate defeat.” He said a memorial recognizing slavery would be too negative.
“I would rather celebrate overcoming the heartbreak of slavery. I wouldn’t want to build a memorial to child abuse. I wouldn’t want to build a memorial to sexual abuse,” Baxley said. “I have a discomfort about memorializing slavery. … I would like to take it in a more positive direction than a memorial to slavery.”
Baxley’s comments were criticized by members of the black caucus, including the House sponsor of the bill.
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