Confederate memorial to be built on MLK in Orange

Granvel Block of Orange says he's related to at least 17 Confederate soldiers.

"My great grandfather was a Confederate veteran," he told 12News Wednesday.

He and his organization, called the Sons of Confederate Veterans, want to honor their ancestors by building a Confederate memorial in Orange. It would look similar to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., and it would be surrounded by 26 different Confederate flags.
"It'll be there for an educational purpose, to show the public the misconception that a lot of people have that the only flag is the battle flag," Block said.

But the memorial will be at the corner of Interstate 10 and MLK, and it's the location that has people talking.

"I think the location could be offensive, it seems to be in bad taste," said Orange resident Philip Cooper.
Orange City Council member Theresa Beauchamp finds it offensive, saying, "Everyone has their freedom of speech, but let that (part of history) be gone and forgotten. We do not need to stir up controversy in this town."

Block says his organization never intended to "make a statement."

"It was just a matter of fate that this particular spot became available," he said.

Block says the complaints are unfounded.

"We are a very diverse group, we do not have prejudices," he said.

Several Orange residents and the Orange division of the NAACP plan to voice their concerns to the City Council. But the property is paid for, and Block says the memorial will be built, possibly completed as early as April.


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