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Sons of Confederate Veterans rally to decide future of Robert E. Lee bust

The decision on a controversial monument hangs into balance, as the City of Fort Myers and Sons of Confederate Veterans continue to disagree on the fate of the bust of Robert E. Lee. The city would have it placed in a museum, but local descendants of Confederate veterans say the city doesn’t have the right to make that call.

The likeness of Robert E. Lee does not reside on its plinth in the City of Fort Myers, and city leaders do not intend for its return.

Sons of Confederate Veterans rallied Monday to make it clear it believes the future of the Robert E. Lee bust is for the organization to decide.

“A week or so ago, the city council came up with the opinion,” said Ross Barnett, the commander of the William Footman Camp. “And this is exactly what it was — their legal opinion that they own the property and the monument.

Barnett and company say they’re ready to fight to put it back where they say it belongs on its pedestal downtown.

That doesn’t sit well with Lee County’s NAACP. James Muwakkil, the president of the Lee County NAACP, does not support the bust of Robert E. Lee as public monument in the community.

“Never should have been put up from the very beginning,” Muwakkil previously told WINK News. “It’s basically a reminder of a dark past in America.”

Barnett said publicly a judge told Sons of Confederate Veterans it has vested interest in the bust, and they want to prove that in court. Barnett disagrees with the city’s position that it owns the bust.

“At this point, I want them to prove it,” Barnett said. “What proof do they have?”

Lee County shared documentation with us. In the county’s opinion, it shows the City of Fort Myers maintains the bust. Still, the Sons of Confederate Veterans disagree.

“The people own it,” Barnett said.

The NAACP said, no matter who owns the bust, Robert E. Lee does not deserve any kind of honor.

“He hated us enough to fight and lead the confederate army that would have kept us enslaved had they prevailed,” Muwakkil told WINK News during a previous story.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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