St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman confirmed Tuesday that a plaque marking the end of the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway on Central Avenue and Bayshore Drive has been removed by the city.
“The plaque recognizing a highway named after Stonewall Jackson has been removed and we will attempt to locate its owner. The plaque may not have elicited the same attention or emotions as the offensive statues and monuments that glorify the Confederacy, but that’s no reason for it remain on public land and serve as a flashpoint in this national debate,” Kriseman said in a statement.
The St. Pete marker, little more than a piece of brass on a rock, had been in place since Jan. 22, 1939. The embossed text says it was erected by the “Dixie Chapter” of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
City officials say it is also unclear whether the marker was on the public right-of-way or private property, though a spokesman for the Kriseman administration made clear the mayor supports removing any Confederate monument on public land.
The move comes shortly after white nationalist groups descended upon Charlottesville, Va., to protest the removal of a statue honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee, perhaps the only Confederate officer with better name recognition than Jackson.
The protests turned violent Saturday and culminated with James Alex Fields, 20, plowing his car into a crowd of counter protesters on Saturday, killing one woman and injuring 19 others. He is currently being held without bail for second degree murder.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, labeled as a Neo-Confederate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was responsible for erecting many other Confederate monuments across the South, including a statue of a Confederate soldier removed from the lawn of the Alachua County Administration Building in Gainesville Monday.
Unlike that statue, which had a narrative sanitizing the Confederate cause as “right” and its soldiers as “martyrs,” St. Pete’s simple stone marker didn’t have any added narrative glorifying the Confederate States or Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who was a slave owner.