Who was Edmund Kirby Smith? And why should he be replaced?
General Edmund Kirby Smith served with the Confederates during the Civil War. He was one of only seven officers to reach the rank of Full General.
A statue of General Edmund Kirby Smith has been on display in the National Statuary Hall since 1922. The National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, DC is comprised of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. The entire collection consists of 100 statues contributed by 50 states, two statues each.
Smith was born in St. Augustine in 1824 but lived in Florida for only 12 years before being sent off to a military school in Virginia in 1836.
Earlier this year the Florida Legislature passed a bill to remove Smith's statue from the Hall. Bill sponsors argued that he spent most of his life living outside of Florida and the state should have someone more representative of Florida's past on display.
The Florida Department of State announced on Wednesday it has created an online survey to begin accepting names of Floridians who could replace the statue of General Edmund Kirby Smith.
From now until June 10, the state will take names and then submit them to a committee tasked with trimming the list to 3 people. The Legislature would then decide whose statue will be made to replace Smith.
Bill sponsors insisted that they are not removing Smith because he was a Confederate general as critics have contended. They both said Florida needs someone who better represents Florida.
Here is a link to some famous Floridians.
The state will only accept people who have been citizens of Florida and those who have been dead for at least 10 years.
"No recommendations of fictional characters, animals, plants, structures, or other non-human entities or beings will be considered by the committee," the Department of State warns people before submitting the survey.