JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new group, Veterans for Black Lives Matter, organized in Jacksonville on the historic day Juneteenth.
The group did this in honor of two Black veterans killed by a mob more than 100 years ago in Jacksonville.
“It’s Juneteenth, and because it took two and a half years for African Americans in the state of Texas to be informed that ‘you’ve been free for two and a half years,’ and so we thought taking a look at what other things that maybe African Americans did not know or other people in the community did not know, and one thing is maybe how many people did not know that those two people who were lynched were actually veterans,” event organizer Pat McCollough said Friday.
Historians told News4Jax that on Sept. 8, 1919, during a period after World War I called the Red Summer, Bowman Cook and John Morine were drug out of the Duval County jail by a mob and brought to a spot off North Main Street across from Evergreen Cemetery, where they were shot to death. The crime was never solved.
“John Morine’s body was left in a ditch while Bowman Cook was dragged through the streets of our city. Their murders have never been solved. Imagine that. All those witnesses and accomplices and no accountability for our veterans,” said one speaker at the veteran’s event.
Both Cook and Morine served in World War I.
Now, these Jacksonville veterans say they demand change in honor of Cook and Morine.
“I urge all veterans to support the Black Lives Matter issue here in Jacksonville,” said another speaker.
The group of 20 wants to defund the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, change the name of schools named after Confederates and expunge criminal records.
“We will have justice and we will take it by any means necessary because Black Lives Matter. Black lives have always mattered, but now we’re here to tell you that we’re speaking up, we’re speaking out that Black Lives Matter,” said McCollough.