FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A controversial statue will be removed from the Broward County courthouse following a report by Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman, county officials announced on Tuesday.
Norman reported last month about a movement to remove a statue of former Florida Gov. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward from the main courthouse in the county named for him.
"It's a monument of divisiveness," said attorney Harold Pryor, president of the T.J. Reddick Black Bar Association.
Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein agreed with Pryor.
"Here we have an individual who believed in a separatist nation -- one for black people, one for white people," Finkelstein said.
The public defender is referring to Broward's separatist belief, voiced in a speech contained in the University of Florida archives -- that blacks be removed from America and be given their own country away from whites.
"The white people have no time to make excuses for the shortcomings of the negro," Broward wrote. "And the negro has less inclination to work for one and be directed by one he considers exacting."
Finkelstein said the statue belonged in a museum, not the courthouse.
"For African-Americans to walk by a statue of a man who didn't think they should live in this country on their way to a criminal courtroom is the wrong message indeed," Finkelstein said.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief, county administrator Bertha Henry and courthouse officials agreed to remove the statue.
The mayor said the statue will be removed in about two weeks after work hours and placed in storage. There are no plans for the statue after that, but some officials have suggested the statue should be placed in a museum or a library.
Sharief said she does not agree with changing the county's name and such a move is not under discussion.
She said any move to change the county's name would be extremely difficult, but would ultimately be "up to the will of the people."