Delving Into Lakeland’s Divided History

With the Lakeland City Commission scheduled to vote Monday on a new location for the Confederate monument that’s currently in Munn Park, The Ledger devoted its entire front page and two more full pages to an exploration of Lakeland’s past. Reporter Kimberly C. Moore’s package includes a video previewing Monday’s choices, historic photos of the monument, and :

  • A look at some of the early residents of Lakeland, who included both Confederate veterans who became prominent citizens and former slaves. The article ends quoting a woman whose family had to move from the African-American community of Moorehead when it was leveled to build what is now the RP Funding Center. She opposes moving the monument to Veterans Park, which was one part of Moorehead. “We didn’t give our land up for that,” she said.
  • A review of 21 lynchings in Polk County in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Five of them took place during 1906 to 1909, years when plans were being made to build the rebel monument in Munn Park, and one occurred soon after the memorial was dedicated in 1910.
  • An interview about Lakeland’s past with Ernest Combee, an 86-year-old great-grandson of a Confederate soldier who settled on the shore of Lake Parker and whose family has remained here for generations | Video of the interview