Florida State removes statue of founder, slave owner Eppes - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Florida State removes statue of founder, slave owner Eppes

Francis Eppes was once commemorated as the founder of Florida State, and until early Thursday morning his statue was on the school's Westcott Plaza. (Source: WTXL, file) Francis Eppes was once commemorated as the founder of Florida State, and until early Thursday morning his statue was on the school's Westcott Plaza. (Source: WTXL, file)

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - Florida State University removed the Francis Eppes statue from the school's front gates early Thursday morning.

The statue has been the target of intense debate for nearly a year.

Eppes, the grandson of Thomas Jefferson, was once commemorated as the founder of FSU, and until early Thursday morning his statue was on the school's Westcott Plaza.

Video that Megan Eppes Barnes, a member of the Eppes family, posted to Facebook on Thursday shows crews removing the statue.

The statue, which had been on campus since 2002, was removed under the direction of university President John Thrasher.

Critics cited Eppes' past as a slave owner as a reason he shouldn't have a statue in such a prominent location on campus.

"We took great pains to make sure we were building a sculpture that would commemorate the educational contributions that Francis Eppes made," said sculptor Ed Jonas, who made the statue.

Barnes, Eppes' great, great, great granddaughter, wrote on her Facebook post that she is proud to be an Eppes. She said the FSU president was easily convinced to overlook all of the accomplishments and generosity of her ancestor.

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