New legislation would punish lawmakers who vote to take down Confederate monuments
State Representative Dean Black has filed legislation that would punish lawmakers who vote to successfully take down Confederate monuments. If it is passed next year by the Florida legislature, it would have a big impact on what’s happening in Jacksonville with Confederate monuments.
Confederate monument pedestal removed from James Weldon Johnson Park
The last remaining piece of a 125-year-old Confederate monument in the heart of downtown Jacksonville was removed over the weekend from James Weldon Johnson Park across the street from Jacksonville’s City Hall, as first reported by the Florida Times-Union.
Future of Confederate monuments a top priority for Jacksonville City Council in 2022
There are a number of pressing issues and hot-button topics facing Jacksonville, including the future of the city’s remaining Confederate monuments, suspension of curbside recycling pickup and traffic delays due to trains.
Councilman, influential groups ask city council to postpone vote on Confederate monument removal
A Jacksonville City Counil member along with the chairman of the Jax Chamber are calling for the city council to postpone an upcoming vote to remove a Confederate moment that is still standing in a Springfield park.
Protesters slam City Council over upcoming Confederate monument vote
Bad weather didn’t stop a protest in front of City Hall Friday morning by members of Take 'Em Down Jax who are upset about a Confederate moment still standing in a Springfield park. That statue is likely to remain in place despite legislation introduced by Mayor Lenny Curry to have it removed.
3rd council committee vote to leave Confederate monument in Springfield Park sparks protest
A third Jacksonville City Council committee has voted over two days against spending $1.3 million to move a Confederate monument from Springfield Park, the decision coming after activists chanting, “Take ‘em down; take ‘em down” were cleared from the room.
2 Jacksonville City Council committees vote down removal of Confederate statue from Springfield Park
During its Tuesday evening meeting, the Jacksonville City Council is scheduled to discuss an ordinance that would appropriate $1.3 million to fund the removal of a Confederate statue in Springfield Park.
City’s remaining Confederate monuments take spotlight in public comment during Council meeting
For weeks, the Northside Collation of Jacksonville has been pressing the city follow through with the removal of all remaining Confederate monuments, and on Tuesday, the organization held another rally outside City Hall.
Jacksonville lawsuit argues spending tax money on Confederate statues violates Constitution
More than a year after a Confederate statue was removed from the now James Weldon Johnson Park, a Jacksonville man has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Lenny Curry and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over other statues that are still standing.
Duval County schools prepare to count school renaming votes
After months of voting, Duval County Public Schools on Wednesday will begin tabulating ballots cast for and against the renaming of nine Jacksonville schools that carry the names of Confederate officers or other controversial historical figures.
Confederate Memorial Day remains legal holiday in Florida, other southern states
There are no major events planned around it these days, but April 26 continues to be Confederate Memorial Day -- a state-sanctioned holiday in Florida. The birthdays for Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee also remain legal holidays in Florida.
High court: Charlottesville can remove Confederate statues
On Thursday, April 1, 2021, Virginia's highest court ruled that the city of Charlottesville can take down this and another statue of a Confederate general. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia's highest court ruled Thursday that the city of Charlottesville can take down two statues of Confederate generals, including one of Robert E. Lee that became the focus of a violent white nationalist rally in 2017. AdThe Jackson statue was erected in Jackson Park in 1921 and the Lee statue was erected in Lee Park in 1924. The state Supreme Court also ruled that the circuit court erred in ordering the city to pay $365,000 in plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs. University of Virginia law Richard Schragger, who specializes in the intersection of constitutional law and local government law, said he took the position early in the litigation that the law didn’t apply to the Charlottesville statues.
Arizona GOP wants felony for protesters who damage statues
Republicans in the Arizona Legislature are reacting to last year's wave of damage to Confederate monuments by civil rights protesters here and across the nation by working to make it a felony to damage or destroy any public or private monument or statue. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)PHOENIX – Republicans in the Arizona Legislature are reacting to last year's wave of damage to Confederate monuments by civil rights protesters here and across the nation by working to make it a felony to damage or destroy any public or private monument or statue. Rep. John Kavanagh supported his proposal at a Senate committee hearing Thursday by saying public monuments are a statement by the community that demand more protection. The proposal adds defacing a monument or statue to existing law that makes it a aggravated felony offense to deface a cemetery headstone or church. Scores of Confederate statues, monuments or markers were removed from public land across the country after Floyd’s death.
Changing name of Robert E. Lee High takes spotlight at community meeting
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northside Coalition and other members of the Jacksonville community gathered Monday afternoon ahead of a meeting, rallying for a name change at Robert E. Lee High School. pic.twitter.com/D7DATGJe60 — Brie Isom (@BrieIsomWJXT) March 15, 2021Some of the names suggested during the Monday meeting included Avondale High School or Riverside High School. There’s a group of alumni from Lee High School are pushing to keep the school’s name, saying that Lee High has too much history to be renamed. It’s about Southern pride,” Lee High School alumnus Joey Steves said previously. Jackson High, Ribault High, and Ribault Middle schools were added to the list in early August.
DCPS holds first public meeting on renaming Lee High School
Four schools had meetings Wednesday, including Lee High School, where demonstrators gathered ahead of the 6 p.m. discussion. “Stop Playing games change the names” is what a group of protesters are chanting outside Lee High School. News4Jax spoke with Mykyla Hooper, who was named Miss Lee High School. AdLeon Barrett, a former coach and player at the high school, says it’s history that shouldn’t be erased. ”The money will drop out from the alumni and I’d hate to see that happen.”Also at the school was the group Save the School Names.
DCPS hears from public about changing schools named after Confederate leaders
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools kicked off its series of community meetings Tuesday concerning the renaming of Jacksonville schools named after Confederate leaders. Stuart Middle School, Stonewall Jackson Elementary, and Kirby Smith Middle School. The process for changing the names is as follows:Schools will invite the community stakeholders who can verify their involvement with the institution. According to the district website, 28 meetings are scheduled for the renaming of the nine schools that bear a Confederate leader’s name. The next public meetings will be held Thursday at Jefferson Davis Middle School.
Confederate statue a step closer to returning to Hemming family
A statue and plaque that honored fallen Confederate soldiers at a downtown park is one step closer to being returned to the family that originally donated it. The statue once stood in what was long known as Hemming Park, until last year, when it was renamed James Weldon Johnson Park. During Tuesday night’s City Council meting, Elwood Hemming, a descendant of the Hemming family, which donated the statue, appeared via Zoom. He said the family is grateful City Council listened to their plea to have the statue returned. “Hopefully the administration works in good faith and with the Hemming family in getting the statue back to the family,” Dennis said.
Years of white supremacy threats culminated in Capitol riots
Both within and outside the walls of the Capitol, banners and symbols of white supremacy and anti-government extremism were displayed as an insurrectionist mob swarmed the U.S. Capitol. “These displays of white supremacy are not new,” said Lecia Brooks, chief of staff of the Southern Poverty Law Center. While not all the anti-government groups were explicitly white supremacist, Tuchman said many support white supremacist beliefs. “This is their new ‘Lost Cause' and a continuation of the original ‘Lost Cause,'” she said. Brooks said she worries the rampage at the Capitol and proliferation of white supremacist symbols will encourage similar actions at state capitals.
Mississippi governor signs law for flag without rebel emblem
Members of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Honor Guard prepare to raise the new Mississippi State flag at the Capitol in Jackson, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Tate Reeves signed a law that created the new state flag with magnolia at the center, six months after the state retired the last state flag in the U.S. that included the Confederate battle emblem. The law retiring the old flag also specified that the commission's proposed new flag would go on the Nov. 3 ballot for a yes-or-no vote. The Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups have waved the Confederate battle flag for decades. A few dozen people demonstrated on the south steps of the Mississippi Capitol in support of reviving the old flag.
Small-town Alabama resident transformed to protest leader
Transformed by leaving the virtually all-white town where she grew up, Dunston has been leading the demonstrations since August. “Everybody’s getting tired,” Marshall County Commission Chairman James Hutcheson said in an interview. Organizing through social media and word of mouth, Dunston decided to take on the Confederate monument. Travis Jackson, a Black Lives Matter activist who lives near Montgomery, said coming to protest in little Albertville is motivating. Counterprotesters are common, including an area Black man who supports the Confederate monument and rebel flag.
House votes to override Trump’s veto of defense bill
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)WASHINGTON – The Democratic-controlled House voted overwhelmingly Monday to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill, setting the stage for what would be the first veto override of his presidency. House members voted 322-87 to override the veto, well above the two-thirds needed to override. Trump rejected the defense bill last week, saying it failed to limit social media companies he claims were biased against him during his failed reelection campaign. The veto override was supported by 212 Democrats, 109 Republicans and an independent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a rare break with Trump, had urged passage of the defense bill despite Trump’s veto threat.
Pentagon memo maps out plan to expand diversity in the force
The Pentagon has endorsed a new slate of initiatives to expand diversity within the ranks and reduce prejudice, including in recruiting, retention and professional development across the force. After extensive wrangling and debate, Esper this summer issued a directive that banned the display of the Confederate flag, without mentioning the word “ban” or that specific flag. Confederate flags, monuments and military base names became a national flashpoint in the weeks after Floyd's death. Ten major Army installations are named for Confederate Army officers, mostly senior generals, including Robert E. Lee. Among the 10 is Fort Benning, the namesake of Confederate Army Gen. Henry L. Benning, who was a leader of Georgia’s secessionist movement and an advocate of preserving slavery.
Florida lawmakers target Confederate holidays
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Rep. Mike Grieco, D-Miami Beach, wants lawmakers to eliminate legal holidays honoring the birthdays of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, along with a Confederate Memorial Day. Grieco on Thursday filed a bill (HB 6007) to remove the Lee, Davis and Confederate Memorial days from a list of legal holidays on the books in Florida. Lee’s birthday, Jan. 19, and Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, have been legal holidays in Florida since 1895. Florida is one of five states that continues to keep Confederate Memorial Day a legal holiday, though legal holidays are not necessarily paid holidays for public employees. Other legal holidays that are not paid holidays include Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, Good Friday, Flag Day and Pascua Florida Day to mark the discovery of Florida in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon.
Brunswick to remove Confederate monument from park
BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Leaders of a Georgia city have voted to remove a Confederate monument from a park where it has stood since 1902. Commissioners in the port city of Brunswick voted 4-1 to take the monument out of Hanover Square. Officials had debated what to do about the monument since July. Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey says the monument will initially be moved into storage. The city hasn’t found a new home for it, but the mayor says perhaps a museum might be willing to take it.
Defense bill in danger over Confederate-named military bases
Republicans are vowing they will not send the broader bill to Trump if it includes language requiring bases named after Confederate officers to be renamed. “It's Senate language that we want to agree to," said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash. “So there shouldn't be controversy here." “Look, the defense bill is really important," Smith said, expressing hope that Republicans would relent. Both the House and Senate defense measures passed by veto-proof margins but GOP leaders want to avoid the chances of a veto coming to pass. The Associated Press erroneously reported that failure to pass the legislation could hold up a pay raise for the military.
Mississippi approves flag with magnolia, ‘In God We Trust’
The magnolia flower centered banner chosen Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 by the Mississippi State Flag Commission flies outside the Old State Capitol Museum in downtown Jackson, Miss. – Mississippi will fly a new state flag with a magnolia and the phrase “In God We Trust,” with voters approving the design Tuesday. It replaces a Confederate-themed flag state lawmakers retired months ago as part of the national reckoning over racial injustice. The final push for changing the Mississippi flag came from business, education, religious and sports groups — including, notably, the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Southeastern Conference. Separately, supporters of the old Mississippi flag are starting an initiative that could revive the old flag by putting the Confederate-themed banner and some other designs up for a statewide vote.
Racial justice movement a factor for 5 state ballot measures
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 30, 2020 file photo, Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration employees Willie Townsend, left, and Joe Brown, attach a Mississippi state flag to the harness before raising it over the Capitol grounds in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t named in any of the 120 statewide ballot measures up for a vote on Nov. 3. But this year's nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice are major factors in the campaigns in several states for measures with distinctive racial themes. In Mississippi and Rhode Island, Black supporters of the ballot measures hope this year’s nationwide spotlight on racial injustice will bring a different outcome than when similar proposals were on the ballot previously. In Utah, the slavery measure’s lead sponsor was Rep. Sandra Hollins, the only Black person now serving in the Legislature.
Crowdfunding efforts to rename Jacksonville Confederate-named schools off to slow start
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two months after a crowdfunding campaign was launched to help pay for the costs to rename six Duval County schools, just over $7,000 have been raised. Renaming six Jacksonville public schools whose names honor Confederate leaders is expected to cost between $750,000 and $1 million, the district said. The Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) created a fund to allow community members to support public school renamings through tax-deductible donations. The Jacksonville schools up for renaming this time include Joseph Finegan Elementary, Stonewall Jackson Elementary, Jefferson Davis Middle, Kirby-Smith Middle, J.E.B. Renaming of the schools has been met with resistance from some alumni who say the school names honor important historical leaders.
Poll: Virginians about evenly divided on Confederate statues
In a state where Confederate monuments have stood for more than a century and have recently become a flashpoint in the national debate over racial injustice, Virginians remain about evenly divided on whether the statues should stay or go, according to a new poll. The poll conducted this month by Hampton University and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 46% support removal of Confederate statues and 42% oppose removal. The poll conducted this month by Hampton University and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 46% support removal of Confederate statues and 42% oppose removal. The 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that left a counterprotester dead had its origins in a city debate over whether to remove Confederate statues. On another topic, the poll found only about 1 in 4 Virginians support keeping schools in the state completely closed to in-person learning.
Confederate memorial set on fire, vandalized at Trout Creek Fish Camp
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A Confederate memorial that was recently moved from downtown St. Augustine to the Trout Creek Fish Camp has been the target of vandalism. A contractor told News4Jax there are no cameras at the fish camp. There’s a lot of history in St. Augustine, and it comes from all over. Let’s preserve it and appreciate it, and let’s not destroy it.”Someone tried to set Confederate memorial on fire that was recently moved from St. Augustine to Trout Creek Fish Camp. Controversial decisionIn June, the St. Augustine City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of moving the Confederate monument that was built in 1872 in downtown St. Augustine.
Future of Florida’s Confederate general statue remains undecided
Lawmakers later decided to use a statue of educator and civil-rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune to represent the state. On July 7, Lake County commissioners reversed support they had given a year earlier to the Lake County Historical Society and Museum to house the Smith statute in the historic courthouse in Tavares. County commissioners said the anticipated arrival of the Smith statue in Lake County created divisions. The board argued that when Smith was born, Lake County was part of St. Johns County, which includes St. Augustine. The Smith statue has served as one of Florida’s two representatives in the National Statuary Hall since 1922.
Barge to deliver Confederate memorial to new home at Trout Creek Fish Camp
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. A Confederate monument that has stood for nearly 150 years in the Plaza de la Constitution is loaded onto a barge Thursday and prepared for an overnight float to its new home at the Trout Creek Fish Camp along the St. Johns River. In June, the St. Augustine City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of moving the Confederate monument that was built in 1872 in downtown St. Augustine. On Wednesday, crews spent time carefully loading the monument onto a dolly system to be moved to the bayfront. St. Johns County Veterans Council held a ceremony on the waterfront Thursday before workers began moving the monument to the barge. The monument -- dolly system and all -- will be loaded onto the barge for the 94-mile trek by water.
Crews continue to work on removing St. Augustine Confederate monument
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. The next steps are being taken to remove a war memorial that honors Confederate soldiers in downtown St. Augustine. Though its Labor Day, that didnt stop work from happening on the Confederate memorial. The St. Augustine City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of moving the Confederate memorial from the Plaza de la Constitucion. Others in St. Augustine want to see the memorial removed. The University of Florida, which owns the property where the Loring monument stood, relocated the statue to private property.
Police chief on leave after confederate statue charges
PORTSMOUTH, Va. The police chief in Portsmouth, Virginia, is on paid leave nearly three weeks after her department charged a state senator and several others from the city's Black community with conspiring to a damage a Confederate monument. City spokeswoman Dana Woodson confirmed in an email on Friday that Chief Angela Greene is on leave and that an assistant police chief will assume her duties in the meantime. Allies of State Sen. Louise Lucas in Richmond have called the felony charges against her legally weak and political. The case is based on words that police say Lucas spoke in the hours before protesters ripped heads off Confederate statues and pulled one down, critically injuring a demonstrator. Greene became Portsmouth's police chief in 2019 after chief Tonya Chapman resigned.
Crews begin work to move Confederate monument in St. Augustine
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. Crews in St. Augustine have removed the top pillar that sat on the oldest Confederate memorial in Florida. Commissioners in St. Augustine voted 3-2 earlier this month to relocate the monument to the Trout Creek Fish Camp. City Manager John Regan had reviewed proposals to relocate the monument and recommended the site at the fish camp, which was offered by the propertys owner, Randy Ringhaver. On Monday, a statue of Confederate Gen. William Loring that was located feet away was removed. The University of Florida, which owns the property where the Loring monument stood, relocated the statue to a private property.
Putnam County commissioners decide to relocate Confederate statue in front of courthouse
PALATKA, Fla. The Putnam County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved the relocation of the Confederate statue in front of the courthouse in Palatka. The Board of Commissioners also decided to form a citizens committee that will recommend where the statue will be moved to. The county said it will depend on private funding to move the statue. In early June, hundreds of people gathered outside the Putnam County Courthouse for a demonstration against racial inequality. The two young adults who organized the protest said it was time for the Confederate statue in front of the courthouse to be removed because they feel its a symbol of injustice toward African Americans.
Congressman seeks to end park's designation as Lee memorial
But Democratic Rep. Don Beyer, whose district is home to Arlington House, said it's time that Lee's name be stripped. Beyer's plans for legislation comes as descendants of a family enslaved at Arlington House have been lobbying for a name change. Surrounding the mansion is Arlington National Cemetery, which draws nearly 4 million visitors a year. Craig Syphax of Arlington is one of the descendants of Arlington House slaves who requested Beyer take action. He said learning his family history in his adult years helped give him a new outlook on life.
New lawsuit filed against City of St. Augustine over Confederate memorial
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. Back in June, a federal lawsuit was filed against the City of St. Augustine over the proposed removal of the Confederate monument at the Plaza de la Constitucion. Now, a new lawsuit has been filed by a group -- some of whom were named on the first lawsuit. The suit alleges the city is depriving them of their civil rights, violating equal protection under the 14th Amendment and violating constitutional rights of free exercise of religion & freedom of speech. The group has also filed another motion for a temporary restraining order against the city. It will be up to a federal judge to make any decisions on the new lawsuit and motion for temporary restraining order.
No immediate ruling on motion to dismiss Lee statue lawsuit
RICHMOND, Va. – A judge heard arguments Tuesday but did not immediately rule on whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s plans to remove an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue. An injunction issued in the lawsuit currently prevents Northam’s administration from moving forward with plans announced after the death of George Floyd to take down the bronze equestrian statue of Lee. But Northam's plans have been tied up in court since then. Now cloaked in graffiti, the Lee statue and other nearby monuments have become a rallying point during ongoing social justice protests and occasional clashes with police.
Museum says displaying Confederate statue part of healing
John Guess Jr., CEO Emeritus of the Houston Museum of African American Culture, talks about the bronze statue "The Spirit of The Confederacy" on display at the museum, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Houston. The statue, which has been in storage following its removal, arrived at the Houston Museum of African American Culture on Monday. Guess said he believes the museum is the first African American institution in the country to house a Confederate monument. Museum officials say people will be able to see the statue up close from the courtyard at a later date. The statue sits facing a collection of eye sculptures by Bert Long Jr., a Black Houston artist.
Confederate monument in Plaza de la Constitucion to be removed in next two weeks
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – About two dozen protesters gathered around a Confederate monument in downtown St. Augustine before dawn Friday. St. Augustine City Manager John Regan told News4Jax that the monument will not be removed Friday, but it will happen in the next two weeks. St. Augustine Commissioners voted to move the monument in June after hundreds of residents called for its removal during the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. “We’ve been fighting this for three years.”The monument was erected in 1872 and has been in the Plaza de la Constitucion since 1879. It is the oldest Confederate monument in Florida.