Public sounds off on Confederate monuments during city council meeting

It’s likely the topic of Jacksonville’s remaining Confederate monuments will lead the discussion during public comment Tuesday evening at city council’s biweekly meeting.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The topic of Jacksonville’s remaining Confederate monuments — specifically the one in Springfield Park — led the discussion during public comment Tuesday evening at city council’s biweekly meeting.

Ahead of the meeting, members of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville gathered outside of the city hall, and people with opposing viewpoints chanted back.

Ben Frazier, the organization’s leader, supports new legislation that’s been introduced by Councilman Matt Carlucci.

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As proposed by Carlucci, the legislation is “concerning statuary and monuments glorifying the Confederacy and removal of such items from public property and public park spaces.” He’s asked for city leaders to produce and present a revised plan by July 26 and cap removal costs at $500,000.

As Frazier led a demonstration outside Jacksonville City Hall, others stood by and listened -- including Seber Newsome, with the group Citizens for Unity, who has long been outspoken when it comes to keeping the statues.

“I’m gonna tell the Republican city council members that the Northside Coalition and Take ‘Em Down Jax do not vote for you. They do not like you. We vote for you. Your constituents want to keep the monuments where they are. Put up new monuments to famous Black men and women. We’re going to hold them accountable,” Newsome said.

Frazier addressed the crowd, standing with members of the Northside Coalition.

“Any proposed meeting must be designed to provide a road map to removal of the monument as is presently exists. We must move beyond the issue of whether the monument should be removed to a discussion about when and how it will be removed,” Frazier said.

Both attended the meeting, where they were among approximately 60 people who spoke during public comment.

“The monuments need to stay,” said Fred Singltary, a supporter of keeping the monuments. “They’re history markers for our city.”

“I love history. That’s where monuments belong. I ask you to remove all of this that celebrates white supremacy,” Mike Ludwick, of the Northside Coalition, told the council.

Carlucci’s legislation was introduced Tuesday night and will go to committee for discussion.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on Monday issued a statement to News4JAX after the measure was proposed to speed up the process of removing confederate monuments in the city.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.