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"Put it In a Museum" Argument Obliterated in Tavares

Press Release - August 16, 2018 For Immediate Release

Media Contact: David McCallister 813-778-1202 Email:


Edmund Kirby "Seminole" Smith HK Edgerton

Tavares – One phrase in the #takeemdown movement’s vocabulary was exposed for the hypocrisy it is in the quiet town of Tavares, Florida over the last weeks. Anti-history minions there won’t hear of their local history museum displaying a prominent Southern history sculpture as name calling, breach of decorum and threats were the order of the day at last night's Tavares City Council meeting.

For years those seeking to remove historical sculptures and historical artifacts from public view have demanded they be ‘put in a museum’. But an effort lead by Mike Watkins of Tavares to de-rail his local history museum’s acquisition of a prominent piece of art has revealed the true feelings about retiring Southern historical items to museums.

“We see clearly now that “put it in a museum” is disingenuous and simply code for “landfill rubble”” observed David McCallister, Save Southern Heritage – FL spokesman.

Watkins Anti-Art-History initiative was fueled with fake “facts”, including claiming that the Sculpture’s subject, Florida native son and war veteran Edmund Kirby “Seminole” Smith was a “member of the KKK” and “fought to preserve slavery”.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of any KKK ties to Smith and I’ve been studying him for years” noted McCallister. “I think he made that up or he got Kirby-Smith confused with Robert Byrd” McCallister added.

Lake County Historical Historical Museum Curator, Bob Granier, obtained State permission to display a priceless bronze sculpture of Edmund Kirby Smith by artist C. Adrian Pillars, which is being retired from Washington, DC and returning home to Florida.

Granier, also on the Tavares City Council, was thanked for his pro-hist

orical tourism efforts with verbal tar and feathers led by Watkins, who didn’t want the prized piece anywhere near their town, museum or not.

‘Poor Yankee Bob, he was just trying to help” said McCallister. “He’s worked hard to promote historical tourism with living history, displays, books and other efforts and this sculpture is the icing on the cake, a ‘home run’ for his adopted home town” he added.

During the City Commission meeting, where the City adopted Watkins’ resolution to ask the Museum to reject the sculpture, Granier was derided despite his community service. “It was upsetting to see the anti-museum bunch scoffing at him with snorts and sneers” McCallister added.

“I came to Tavares to rehabilitate the reputation of two men but my efforts fell on deaf ears” McCallister said bemoaning the City’s decision and Granier’s treatment. “It seems we have come to a time where personal resentments get in the way of civic progress” McCallister added. Granier was back home in Chicago caring for his elder mother when he got the same treatment at the County Commission meeting by Watkins & Co.

During remarks to the City Commission, Watkins and others also intimidated the Council by raising the specter of Ferguson, Charlottesville and other news-making towns, if they didn’t get their way.

In remarking on Watkins' complaint about bridge building by shunning the sculpture, McCallister concluded “It takes two sides to build a bridge, but it seems that ‘building bridges’ is code for ‘tear it down’.

When asked what he thought about Watkins and his efforts, noted Southern Civil Rights Activist, HK Edgerton retorted “He [Watkins] should go back to Africa”. “I’m sick and tired of all the lies being spewed about this honorable man” Edgerton concluded. Edgerton is a life-long civil rights activist including past President of an NAACP branch and now fights for Southern civil rights.

SAVE SOUTHERN HERITAGE Inc. is a not for profit corporation that educates & advocates on behalf of Southern Heritage & History. It was started in 2015 in response to the knee-jerk Anti-Southern institutionalized bullying and “Eracism” levied against the people of South Carolina by Governor Nikki Haley, after she broke all previous agreements about how South Carolina’s historical veterans and their symbols should be treated and respected. The Florida branch was activated in mid-January 2016, in response to three initiatives in the Florida Legislature that are part of a hate campaign led by Anti-American extremists, who refuse to respect the various cultures that make up the fabric of Florida’s society. Since that time, it has grown in membership and has been active in battles over American History and throughout Florida including the “We’ll Remember in November Campaign” that resulted in #heritagehater candidates to loose elections in Florida and others to win. More info:


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