Protest to Demand Removal of Francis Eppes' Statue from FSU Campus

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Francis Eppes. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, July 4, 2020, the Florida State University (FSU) chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), in conjunction with affiliated student organizations, will hold a protest at the statue of Francis Eppes, located adjacent to the Westcott Building on FSU's campus.

This protest joins many similar protests across the country in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and thousands of other Black people who are terrorized by the police on a daily basis. Many of these protests have made it their focus to speak out against the glorification of the United States' racist past, which often takes the form of statues of prominent white supremacists and various other Confederate monuments.

SDS has since 2016 rallied for the removal of the statue of Francis Eppes. Eppes is lauded as FSU's founder, which is not only historically inaccurate but ignores the systemic racism that he helped enforce. Francis Eppes owned 91 slaves and 1,920 acres of cotton plantation in Tallahassee, which he later sold to support the Confederacy during the American Civil War. In his time as mayor of Tallahassee he established a 'night watch' to catch runaway slaves and enforce the law of white supremacy. This 'night watch' later became the Tallahassee Police Department, which continues to this day in a slightly watered down version of their original mission to enforce white supremacy. In addition to the statue, FSU has also named the Criminology Building, Eppes Hall, in honor if Francis Eppes.

Black enrollment at FSU has been steadily dropping since the 1999 statewide ban on Affirmative Action. This ban was put in place by then governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, along with then Speaker of the House, John Thrasher, who is currently the president of FSU. Black enrollment has dropped from 12.3% of Undergraduate students in the Fall of 1999 to 8.7% of Undergraduate students in the Fall of 2019, which is a 29% drop. FSU continuing to exalt racist figures like Francis Eppes during a time of nationwide protests against police brutality sends the message that FSU administration does not care about Black students, and would rather continue ignoring its own historical and present racism than attempt to make campus a safe place for Black students.

Therefore, we put forward following demands:

We demand that the Francis Eppes statue be removed from FSU's campus

We demand that Eppes Hall be renamed along with all other buildings with the names of racists

We demand that FSU reinstate Affirmative Action for Black students by taking concerted efforts to increase Black enrollment

We demand that FSU end its relationship with TPD and place FSUPD under community control

WHO: FSU Students for a Democratic Society

Tallahassee Dream Defenders

Tallahassee Community Action Committee

Khamare Garner


Gender Odyssey at FSU

Decolonize FSU

WHAT: Protest to demand the removal of the Francis Eppes statue and other monuments exalting FSU's racist past

WHEN: Saturday, July 4th, 2020 at 5:00 PM - media interviews available before and after the protest.

WHERE: Westcott Fountain at Florida State University - 156 S. Copeland St, Tallahassee, FL.

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