Committee Recommends City To Recycle, Instead Of Removing, Jacksonville Confederate Monuments – Action News Jax
Jacksonville, FL. – On June 9, 2020, Mayor Lenny Curry addressed a crowd of peaceful protesters outside City Hall.
Speaking during a march organized by Leonard Fournette, the former jaguar who ran back, Curry talked about the removal of a Confederate statue in honor of Charles C. Hemming.
“And the [other Confederate monuments] in this city is also removed, “said Mayor Curry.
The statue stood on a pedestal in the former Hemming Park. The park has since been renamed James Weldon Johnson Park.
In August, the city tapped six people to form an unofficial committee to brief the city on challenges and solutions to monuments that were destroyed in riots in the summer of 2020.
The six-person committee consisted of art professionals, historians, and city planners.
Action News Jax received a recently finalized report from the committee.
It includes recommendations for the pedestal in James Weldon Johnson Park, the Memorial to the Women of Southland in Springfield Park, and the grandstand in Old City Cemetery.
The report contains separate recommendations for each monument, including suggestions for repurposing the monuments with a more historical context and involving people from different backgrounds.
A complete removal of the monuments from the public was not proposed by the committee.
Dr. David Jamison, an adjunct professor at Edward Waters College who was on the committee, said there was no museum to place the monuments and giving them to private groups or demolishing them were not options for the committee.
“So we didn’t want to give them to a private individual because we didn’t want them to be put in a private room so that people could make them objects of pilgrimage,” said Dr. Jamison. “So we didn’t see that as a good idea.”
However, activists, including Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition, believe the monuments’ repurposing does not live up to the mayor’s promises.
“I take the mayor’s word. He said these monuments would be removed. When we marched into the street and he marched with us, he made it clear that these monuments would be removed, ”said Frazier. “… [Repurposing the monuments is] Not an option as these monuments should be removed for the reasons they were erected here. We understand that they represent people, hatred, slavery, who fought to promote and maintain slavery. “
Action News Jax emailed the mayor’s office asking how the committee’s recommendations would be used.
“The city is reviewing the attached report,” said a city spokesman. “The mayor asked the administration to work with the group that had gathered to hear the group’s contributions on potential challenges with removal and suggestions on how to interpret the monuments and markings. The work of the group was recently completed with the attached report. Mayor Curry is working with Council President Hazouri, who has agreed to set up a Council’s “Social Justice Committee” which has met for almost a year and has made several investments to address inequalities and other socio-economic problems. “