Sharon Weston Broome town hall

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome talks with Advocate editor Peter Kovacs

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome says she wants her new Commission on Racial Equity and Inclusion to tackle the issue of removing Confederate monuments and renaming streets and buildings in the near future.

"We are in a season where people are recognizing symbols that continue to promulgate racial division and are painful reminders of our past as we try to live in the present," Broome said Tuesday morning during a live Town Hall with The Advocate's Executive Editor, Peter Kovacs. "One of the reasons I established our commission...was to ask people that serve on it to look at these symbols and painful reminders of slavery that exist and offer an approach to either rename them and look at statutes that may need to be removed." 

Broome made those comments as debates heat up national and locally surrounding Confederate monuments and the idolization of people who were either Confederate soldiers or were known for having segregationists beliefs.

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board is gearing up to change the name of Lee High School, named for Confederate general Robert E. Lee. And last week, LSU's Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to remove Troy H. Middleton's name from the university's main library.   

Middleton, a former LSU president and Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army during World War II, has a troubled legacy that surrounds accounts that he tried to maintain segregation.

"I think the School Board made a wonderful step in the right direction," Broome said during Tuesday's Town Hall. "Id like to see us approach it holistically. But that we also make sure we're promoting, in this present moment, the removal of systemic racism in institutions that exist in our city and parish."

Broome said such endeavors would require approval by the Metro Council. 


Email Terry Jones at tjones@theadvocate.com