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Key West Park Pavilion Rededicated To Honor 'One Human Family' Instead Of The Confederacy

A pavilion honoring the Confederacy has been in a Key West park since 1924. Now it could be dedicated to a new cause.
Nancy Klingener
The pavilion honoring the Confederacy has been in a Key West city park since 1924. Now it will be dedicated to a new cause. The statue of the Black Union soldier, behind, was installed in 2016.

A Key West city park pavilion originally dedicated to Confederate soldiers has been renamed and rededicated — this time to 'One Human Family,' the Southernmost City's official motto.

Key West city commissioners unanimously decided Wednesday to rename a pavilion in a city park to honor the city's official motto, One Human Family.

The pavilion was originally built by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was given to the city in 1924.

Commissioner Sam Kaufman proposed the renaming.

"As stewards of this public park, I think it's important making this statement that this public park and our city is a welcoming city, that we are an inclusive city and that this park and this pavilion is for all people," Kaufman said.

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One resident spoke against the change in name and dedication.

"I am all for One Human Family, but this is history. And you can't change history, but you can learn from history. This city makes millions annually from our unique history," Wallace Moore said.

Moore referred to speeches Key West officials gave at a rally in June, protesting racism after George Floyd was killed when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.

"Every one of you said how Key West is different. We don't have those issues other places have and amen to that," Moore said. "So if that is the case, why do you want us to be like every other community in this country by changing names of historical places?"

Read more: Key West Preserves Memorials To Confederate And Union Armies

Commissioners said they intend to keep the two plaques at the base of two of the pavilion's columns. One shows its original dedication to the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy. The other names the United Daughters of the Confederacy as the group that gave it to the city.

Clayton Lopez, the only Black member of the City Commission, said the plaques should stay.

"As an advocate for telling the whole story, it's important that this part of our story, no matter how dark it is, is also told," Lopez said. "And I certainly want my children and my grandchildren to understand from whence we came, what has brought us here."

Key West stayed in Union hands throughout the Civil War but some local residents fought for the Confederacy. In the 1920s, at the time the pavilion was dedicated, there was an active chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in the city and the "klaliff" of the chapter spoke at the dedication.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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