Jacksonville City Council plans to take action, address Confederate monuments as fate remains undecided

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Contention among groups defending or protesting the removal of the Confederate monuments in Jacksonville has been an ongoing issue since the topic was first introduced in 2020.

News4JAX spoke with Jacksonville City Council President Terrance Freeman, who didn’t directly state what the future of the monuments involves but recognizes that the city council needs to take action.

“I am confident that at the turn of the year there will be some movement, and there are some conversations and maybe legislation passed to handle this discussion of Confederate monuments,” Freeman said.

In June 2020, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry ordered the statue of a Confederate soldier to be removed from James Weldon Johnson Park in front of City Hall and also promised that all Confederate statues and markers in the city would be removed from public property.

Since then, there have been multiple marches and protests of groups demanding Curry keep his word. Most recently, when the group Save Southern Heritage flew a Confederate flag over the TIAA Bank Field as a call to “put monuments back.”

In early December, multiple organizations, including the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and Take Em Down Jax, held a rally to protest the monuments that are still standing, stating that they are a reflection of racism in the city and do not progressively move the city forward.

Curry, however, has said he’s done his job and the issue is not up to the city council to resolve. Curry budgeted over $500,000 for the removal of statues in Springfield Park, but the city council has delayed discussion -- something Freeman said he is about to change.

Freeman said he owes all sides the respect to hear their voices and try to come to a conclusion that best serves Jacksonville and brings the city together.

“There’s no bigger desire that I have than to see Jacksonville reach its fullest potential and reach it with us locking arms together,” Freeman said.

With city elections approaching in March, it is expected that the monuments will be an issue during candidate debates.

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