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Statue of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward to be removed from courthouse after racist speech uncovered

There are no plans to change the county's name
Posted: 5:09 PM, Oct 10, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-10 21:09:47Z

Broward County is removing a courthouse statue of its namesake governor after a speech he made calling for African-Americans to be resettled was uncovered.

County Mayor Barbara Sharief announced Tuesday that the statue of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, who was governor from 1905 to 1908, will be removed. The county was named after him when it was incorporated in 1915, five years after his death.

Sharief didn't give an exact date for when the statue would be removed, but said it would happen sometime in the next couple of weeks. She said she received "quite a few" complaints about the statue.

"I don't view it as a symbol of hate. What I view it as is oppression and offense, and if that's something that people don't want to experience on a daily basis then we have no problem with removing it," Sharief said.

A courthouse gossip website JAABlog recently uncovered the speech, which called for the U.S. government to purchase land and move the nation's African-Americans there to establish a new country.

"The white people have no time to make excuses for the shortcomings of the Negro," said Broward, who is best known for partially draining the Everglades. "And the Negro has less inclination to work for one and be directed by one he considers exacting, to the extent that he must do a good day's work or pay for the bill of goods sold to him."

Bill Gelin, the attorney who runs JAABlog, said he found the speech in a collection of Broward's papers posted by the University of Florida.
 
The statue was a gift to the county in 1982 by an artist named Skip Wellever. It sat in storage until 1993, when it was placed in its current spot at the courthouse.

Sharief said the statue will go into storage until the county figures out what to do with it. "It may be more appropriate for a museum," she said.

There are no plans to change the county's name, Sharief said.

Story from our news partner NBC 6 Miami