JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northside Coalition of Jacksonville is planning an event to celebrate the removal of a Confederate statue in a downtown Jacksonville park. Community members are asked to arrive at Hemming Park at 7:30 a.m.
City workers removed the monument in Hemming Park under the cover of darkness in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The monument was a 62-foot Vermont granite monument that had stood since it was installed in 1898. It sits just feet away from City Hall and is topped by the bronze figure of a Confederate soldier in winter uniform, representing the Jacksonville Light Infantry, a Confederate military company.
It’s not clear if the monument is being disposed of or moved.
Activist and president of Northside Coalition of Jacksonville Ben Fraizer said all confederate monuments, streets, and school names in Jacksonville should be removed and renamed. That would include the park where the statue was removed in Hemming Park.
Hemming Park was named for civil war veteran Charles Hemming in 1899, the year after he donated the monument. Hemming Park is Jacksonville’s oldest park.
Frazier acknowledged the Confederacy and images of it, are a part of American history saying,
"This has never been a fight about southern heritage. It’s really about Confederate heritage and there is a definitive difference between the two. Confederate heritage represents an ugly story of racial hatred, discrimination, social injustice, lynchings, and slavery.”
Activists have for years called for Confederate monuments to be taken down and the city council held several discussions on removal. It’s unclear under what authority the statue was removed overnight, but we expect to hear from Mayor of Jacksonville Lenny Curry at 10 a.m. when a peaceful protest is also planned to begin.