A central Florida mayor is under scrutiny after signing a proclamation to make April 26 “Confederate Memorial Day.”
Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn on Tuesday signed a proclamation — which was not required to go through a vote — to make the day “a time in which to honor the memories of those who sacrificed their lives in the War Between States,” The Washington Post reported Friday.
The newspaper noted that such language is often used to minimize Confederate wrongdoings.
After the order was signed, council President Mary Sue Rich dissented.
“I’m not proud of you doing a Confederacy proclamation standing up here in front of all these people in the city of Ocala. That turns my stomach,” Rich said at the meeting’s end. “I don’t think you deserve to be the mayor of Ocala. I hope somebody runs against you.”
She told reporters that she believes Confederate history belongs in museums.
“I don’t think we need to have a special day in 2019 declaring Confederate Day in the city of Ocala,” she said.
Ocala City Councilwoman Mary Rich is speaking out. She was not happy that the mayor presented a proclamation for Confederate Memorial Day, during last nights’ council meeting. pic.twitter.com/pUdYPPb0j3
— Myrt Price (@MPriceWFTV) April 3, 2019
Rich also referenced allegations that Guinn has ties to the Ku Klux Klan, an accusation he has vehemently denied.
“I am not — repeat, not — in the KKK,” he said during a press conference. “I never have been. I never will be, and I despise and hate everything that organization stands for.”
Guinn told the Post that the resolution is “simply a memorial for Confederate soldiers who were veterans.”
But Civil War scholar Kevin Levin criticized Guinn for the language of the proclamation, saying it amplified a revisionist history.
“This is pure cowardice,” Levin wrote on Twitter. “Ocala, Florida Mayor Kent Guinn signs a proclamation for Confederate Memorial Day, but no effort is made to say what the war was about or what it resolved.”
This is pure cowardice. Ocala, Florida Mayor Kent Guinn signs a proclamation for Confederate Memorial Day, but no effort is made to say what the war was about or what it resolved. What "tragic events" between 1861 and 1865? Was the emancipation of 4 million people "tragic"? pic.twitter.com/DllX0kRLKV
— Kevin M. Levin (@KevinLevin) April 3, 2019
As the Post notes, “Confederate Memorial Day” is an official holiday in Mississippi and Alabama, and is considered a legal holiday by the state of Florida, the Post notes.