JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was two years ago on Wednesday when Mayor Curry said all the confederate monuments in Jacksonville need to come down. Yet, only part of one monument was been removed.
City council members are going to take up the divisive issue again on Tuesday, June 14.
A controversial monument still stands, uncovered, in Springfield Park. It is now the focus of much attention -- dividing the council and the many people living in the city.
Will it stay or will it go? Jacksonville residents might receive an answer next week.
The one monument removed two years ago was a confederate soldier that sat atop a pedestal -- located across from City Hall. Many thought it meant a change in Jacksonville. The soldier was put away in storage -- but the pedestal remains.
Some voiced mixed feelings about the confederate monuments.
“I feel like the entire purpose of the confederacy was built on racism and I feel like to continue to glorify it just continues racism, Angelina Moss, a Jacksonville resident, said.
“Keep (the) monuments up,” John Frashure told News4JAX. “It’s part of your ancestry history and that’s what I look at it as. Not as a hate monument or anything else. I look at it as if it’s part of my history.”
City Councilman Matt Carlucci said the city needs to follow through with its promises. He held a meeting Wednesday with another member of the council, Michael Boylan.
Carlucci is calling for the mayor to follow through and remove the statues. Carlucci’s resolution calls for the mayor to budget $500,000 to take down the statue at Springfield Park and the remaining pedestal at James Weldon Johnson Park.
“Knowing how race relations, where they are today, are holding our city back from propelling to a better future,” Carlucci said. “I got to understand how other people feel and the hurt and the pain that they feel about these monuments when other people like myself walk past it does not make a bit of difference.”
It appears most of the council, including Boyland, is heading in a different direction. Many want to see more town hall meetings and more talks with historians and outside negotiators before deciding what to do.
Boylan believes taking down the statues would be a mistake.
“I believe they need to stay up and be used as the kind of tool to teach my children my grandchildren and those thereafter what it was like to live in Jacksonville,” Boylan said. “In the 1950s 1915 or 1850.”
Jim Piggott asked: “Even though some groups find that so oppressive and hurtful that they are still up?”
“I think it can be an expression for those who find it hurtful for an opportunity for them to talk about the Hurt they still feel from it,” Boylan said.
Carlucci knows it will be a tough fight on Tuesday as the council will take up the issue to act now or later.
The debate will continue this weekend during the city’s bicentennial celebration.
Members of “Take ‘Em Down Jax” will hold a demonstration at James Weldon Johnson Park during the city’s bicentennial event -- something the head of the historical society told News4JAX they welcome because it’s all part of the city’s history.