FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A 19th century abolitionist will be officially recognized in Apalachicola.
The Apalachicola City Commission agreed last night to place a historical marker along the riverfront, honoring Moses Roper.
However, some commissioners weren’t exactly welcoming the idea.
Local organizations have been campaigning to bring the story of 19th-century abolitionist Moses Roper to Apalachicola with a historical marker.
Apalachicola Main Street Executive Director, Augusta West received three minutes to persuade Apalachicola City Commissioners, not enough time to present her 184 page PowerPoint.
Some commissioners supported the marker but were concerned about some of the racial sentiments that have surrounded the marker issue.
“I am concerned because this narrative has turned into whether or not Apalachicola is ready to embrace our heritage and commemorate an African American. And of course, we are,” said Commissioner Donna Duncan.
Other commissioners completely opposed the marker.
“I look at a historical marker as being something for established history in the community, that we want to celebrate, that has wide community support and for those reasons I don’t think it’s appropriate,”Commissioner Despina George said.
Commissioners tabled this issue at last month’s meeting.
Since then, 496 people signed a petition supporting the historical marker.
In the end, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve it.
“I think this a great day for the history of Moses Roper. This will be as far as we know the first historical marker in the United States recognizing his achievements as an abolitionist in the transatlantic movement,” West said.
There’s a marker in Ireland commemorating a speech Roper gave there in 1848.
His home state of North Carolina is also considering ways to give his story more public recognition.