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FORT MYERS, Fla., -- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is seeking a partnership with the Daughters of Confederacy to relocate the Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Fort Myers. 

“This is my nightmare, this is not a symbol of beauty," says James Muwakkil, NAACP President of the local Fort Myers chapter.

Muwakkil sent a letter to the United Daughters of the Confederacy asking for a partnership with relocating the Robert E. Lee bust on Monroe St. The letter details the NAACP wants the UDC to "recognize the difficulty and pain these monuments engender  among African-Americans."

The NAACP President tells Fox 4, local chapters are encouraged to partner with organizations that have differing views and hopes to find a "middle ground" on the statue. 

"We’re not saying tear it down," said Muwakkil. "Because some people care about it, okay, that matters to us.”  

While the UDC has yet to respond to the letter. Fox 4 reached out twice by phone and email and did not hear back. 

Muwakkil explains the statue represents a long history of oppression for the black community. 

"To us," he said pointing to the statue. "[It's] slavery, murder, segregation, Jim Crow, [and the] Ku Klux Klan.”

He says it is the City of Fort Myers that is in charge of the relocation of the statue. The City gave this statement to Fox 4: 

“The City is supportive of a partnership between NAACP and Daughters of the Confederacy to address relocation of the statue.”

The NAACP plans on filing a request for the issue to be on the agenda at a city council meeting early next week. 


Melvin Morgan, Lee County's first and only black county commissioner and the first black social worker, talks about growing up in Fort Myers and about her experiences as a commissioner. Amanda Inscore/


Melvin Morgan is a dedicated voter.

She’s cast her ballot in every election, but the most recent primary in Fort Myers almost broke her record.

The 81-year-old Dunbar resident mailed it in.

“I didn’t want to go stand in line for no ballot to vote, and I’m a strong voter because I’ve been voting all my life because I believe in it,” Morgan said. “The next thing I know, the phone was ringing from the election’s office, ‘Ms. Morgan, you did not sign your ballot.’ I said ‘whatchu mean I didn’t sign it.’”

That’s how Morgan, a well-known black woman whose broken through many glass ceilings, made her way to the election’s office last September. The elections office, on Thompson Street, is in the building that bears her name.

That’s where she met Tommy Doyle, Lee County’s supervisor of elections, and that’s where the idea to have a portrait of Morgan, Lee County’s sole black county commissioner, in the building came from. The officials with offices in the building and community members, along with Lee County’s NAACP will unveil Morgan’s portrait Friday ahead of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

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