Robert E. Lee statue toppled off stand, but now is back up

Published: Updated:
Toppled statue of Robert E. Lee. Photo via WINK News

A crowd cheered as a controversial piece of Fort Myers history got screwed back into place.

But some, like Tarique Wilson, are not happy to see the Robert E. Lee bust back up in downtown.

“Robert E Lee is an evil, wicked person that represents slavery,” Wilson said. “I’m glad they knocked it down and they need to knock it down again!”

The statue of Lee was found lying face down, torn from its monument before the Sons of Confederate Veterans carefully put it back Monday evening.

Police are still looking for who knocked the statue down. WINK News asked the Lee County NAACP President James Muwakkil if he knew anything. He denied commenting on the question.

“Going into the 2020 election we want to remove all types of symbols that causes division and not unity,” Muwakkil said.

Jeff Fortney, a history professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, said it is time for the Confederate Memorial to find a new spot.

“To put Lee in such a privileged position, this is making a statement not only about our past but our values,” Fortney said. “He led the largest army in an attempt to extend and preserve slavery and to say that right now.. in 2019, we still want that to be our representative is, in fact, a statement.”

Fortney thinks it is only a matter of time until someone vandalizes the military bust again.

General Lee statue topples over Monday morning

Fort Myers Police say they are investigating to find out who toppled over statue of Robert E. Lee overnight Monday in downtown Fort Myers.

Photo of Robert E. Lee statue

FMPD says the unknown suspect or suspects loosened the bust from its pedestal on Monroe Street and knocked the monument to the ground.

The bust is now in the hands of the Sons Confederate Veterans as police try to find the vandal.

James Muwakkil, president of the Lee County NAACP, who regularly advocates for it removal, said it should have never been up, “symbols of hate is not acceptable”

Others, however, want to see it repaired.

Joanne Miller, a researcher with the Southwest Florida Historical Society said she thinks it’s an important part of history.

What will be done with the bust now, is still up in the air.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.