Posted on October 11, 2017

‘Racist’ Statue of Broward County’s Namesake to Be Removed from Courthouse

Larry Barszewski and Rafael Olmeda, Sun Sentinel, October 10, 2017

Segregationist Napoleon Bonaparte Broward — the man Broward County is named after — is no longer welcome in the county courthouse.

A statue of Broward will be removed from the downtown Fort Lauderdale courthouse soon, Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief said Tuesday. It’s the latest casualty of a nationwide debate about whether it’s proper to commemorate people who advocated slavery or held racist, segregationist views.

Could the county’s name be changed next? Not likely, Sharief says.

“I don’t even want to go down that road,” she said.

Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was governor from 1905 to 1908 and is best remembered for the draining of the Everglades, which helped spur development in South Florida. He also was a segregationist whose comments from a century ago have drawn new scrutiny.

A document that Broward wrote during his term in office called on Congress “to purchase territory, either domestic or foreign, and provide means to purchase the property of the negroes at a reasonable price and to transport them to the territory purchased by the United States.”

The proposal for a new black nation didn’t seem altruistic. Broward said whites wouldn’t live in the new nation, and blacks wouldn’t return to live in the United States. “The white people have no time to make excuses for the shortcomings of the negro,” he said.

That kind of thinking is enough for the county to take action, Sharief said, responding to people who were offended by the statue’s prominence in the courthouse.

But those critics never said the county’s name was an issue, and Sharief said she’s not looking to make it one.