A petition is circulating on Change.org calling for the replacement of a Confederate monument with a statue of the late manatee “Snooty,” who was the oldest manatee in captivity.
“Snooty the Manatee has been a symbol of Bradenton, FL, for almost 70 years. He suddenly passed away on July 23rd, 2017, and was the oldest living Manatee on record in the world. Subsequently, there is a Confederate memorial statue that stands directly in front of the old courthouse just blocks away from the aquarium where Snooty resided,” wrote the petition author Anthony Pusateri.
Born on July 21, 1948, Snooty turned 69 years old last Friday before being discovered dead the next day in what officials at the South Florida Museum are calling a “heartbreaking accident.” Snooty’s body was discovered in a vent off-shooting from his tank in an area meant for plumbing. A full investigation of what occurred is underway but officials speculation is that the panel blocking the entryway to the vent mysteriously became dislodged, allowing Snooty to enter.
“There is nothing we saw to show why this panel became dislodged. We don’t have that answer yet,” said museum spokesperson Jeff Rodgers.
The petition author feels Snooty’s memory is a more uplifting symbol than a Confederate monument to display in a town center.
“To honor Snooty’s legacy as a positive icon in Bradenton, I propose that the negative symbol of racism and oppression that is the Confederate monument be relocated and replaced with a statue of Snooty the Manatee,” Pusateri’s post concluded.
The replacement of Confederate monuments has been a hot button issue in local governments across the United States. While some wish to rid public spaces of reminders of the United States’ divisive past, others feel it is an unnecessary sacrifice of historical artifacts for political correctness. More than 100 protesters were present for the removal of a monument in Texas and liberal mayors across the country are considering the future of Confederate monuments in their cities.
Nonetheless, the statue of Snooty is gaining support in Bradenton, as Pusateri’s proposal has 847 supporters, just 153 votes from the 1,000 needed. Pusateri plans to send the petition to Bradenton City Mayor Wayne Poston, the Manatee County Board of Commissioners and the Bradenton City Council.
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