Hispanic Heritage Festival
James Weldon Johnson park will host Viva La Fiesta, the Hispanic Heritage Festival once again. This year’s event will feature foods, fashion and fun from the many hispanic cultures living here in Jacksonville. Dance instruction along with other educational opportunities will be presented, as well. There will be music all day, but excitement is on another level with Fulanito headlining. It runs Oct. 15th from 4 - 9 pm. It is a free event with invitations to families and people of all cultures. www.jamesweldonjohnsonpark.org
City breaks ground on Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Community leaders broke ground Wednesday on a new city park in the historic LaVilla neighborhood. It’s located on property that was the birthplace of brothers James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, authors of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which is considered the Black national anthem. Park renderings show the park (see below), on Lee Street two blocks north of the Prime Osborn Convention Center, will eventually have gardens, statues and markers. Ad“LaVilla is a beautiful historic neighborhood that needs a lot of investment on its own, and every great neighborhood needs an investment in public spaces,” said Jake Gordon, CEO of Downtown Vision. An artist's rendering of the Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing Park released last year by the city of Jacksonville.
Legacy of James Weldon Johnson remembered during event at park on Saturday
James Weldon Johnson was honored as a Duval County legend Saturday, at the park named after him. “We want to make sure that people know and understand what happened in Jacksonville, and who James Weldon Johnson is and was,” said Liz McCoy, executive director of the park. AdBlending Jacksonville’s black history and culture, organizers say this will be an annual event. There’s a lot more in store for James Weldon Johns Park this year. Organizers say at least once a month big events will happen at the park.
Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park set to become ‘historic landmark’ in city
Thursday, plans were unveiled for the Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park. An artist's rendering of the Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing Park which was unveiled by the City of Jacksonville on Thursday. The brothers wrote and composed the iconic song, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” in that home. Moving the home to the park site will be one of the first phases of the project’s development. On Oct. 13, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund will have a virtual community town hall for anyone who wants to learn more about design plans for Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park.
Councilman wants to pump the brakes on renaming Jacksonvilles buildings, parks
City Councilman Rory Diamond introduced legislation that would institute a two-year moratorium on future renaming, and now that bill is facing opposition and questions about the legislations motive. Even though that bill was withdrawn, Diamond wants to slow down the renaming process. Diamond is proposing a two-year moratorium on renaming Jacksonville parks, schools and public facilities, arguing the city should focus on the pandemic and rebuilding the local economy. Dennis said he wants to fully understand Diamonds motive before the city agrees to pump the brakes on renaming projects for the next two years. The issue is expected to be discussed during the next City Council meeting.
Hemming family may ask court to block changing name of park
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The descendants of the man who donated a Confederate statue to a downtown park that later took on his name told News4Jax they are looking into taking legal action to attempt to block changing the name of Hemming Park. In the background, Ben Frazier of Northside Coalition walked around the park remembering coming to the park with his mother when he was 10 years of while the park was still segregated. (One) side of the park was the colored peoples side ... and to the east was the white peoples side. In the confines of this park, there were white and colored water fountains, white and colored restrooms, Frazier said. After all of the fights, after all of the protests, was Frazier surprised to see the changes?
Hemming Park name change splits council members
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A plan to change the name of a downtown park is causing a rift within the Jacksonville City Council, but a compromise is in the works. It centers around Hemming Park, which is currently named after Civil War veteran Charles Hemming, who donated a Confederate memorial to the state in 1898. “It was definitely a sneak attack by a fellow council member,” Dennis said, noting that legislation to rename Hemming Park after Johnson has been in the works for several weeks. Still those two alone won’t decide the future of the park as it would take 10 votes from City Council to rename it. In my opinion, there should be no agreement, settlement or compromise regarding the proposed name change to James Weldon Johnson park.
With RNC out, activists hope Mayor Curry focuses on removing Confederate monuments
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Now that the Republican National Convention has been pulled out of Jacksonville, some activists say it gives Mayor Lenny Curry time to focus on removing Confederate monuments from the city. On Friday, a group protested in front of City Hall urging the mayor to focus on a promise to remove the monuments. Its been over a month since the city removed a Confederate monument from Hemming Park. The city said it doesnt know when the Confederate monuments will come down but said that its working on a schedule with the Parks and Recreation Department. News4Jax has also been following the removal of the Confederate monument in St. Augustine.
Family member: Decision to rename Hemming Park shouldnt be up to City Council
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. A member of the Hemming family is speaking out after Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis filed legislation to change the name of Hemming Park. On Tuesday night, the legislation was introduced to the Jacksonville City Council. The Jacksonville City Council changed the name of the park from St. James Park to Hemming Park in 1899 after his donation. We have gone down there for the past 90 years with grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, said Elwood Hemming, the great-great-great-nephew of Charles Hemming. We have all of the original paperwork, Elwood Hemming said.
Man who Jacksonville park could be renamed for is todays Google Doodle
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The legacy of Jacksonville native James Weldon Johnson is getting national attention today on Juneteenth, but one council member wants to make the name a permanent fixture in the River City. Councilman Garret Dennis is working to rename Hemming Park, James Weldon Johnson park. The resolution came about after the city of Jacksonville removed a Confederate statue gifted to the state of Florida by Jacksonville civil war veteran Charles Hemming. The homepage of Google today commemorates the 155th anniversary of June 19 -- largely celebrated as the end of slavery in the US -- with a video Google Doodle. A blend of the words June and nineteenth, Juneteenth is the oldest known US celebration of the end of slavery.
Councilman introduces legislation to rename Hemming Park
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville City Council member has introduced legislation that aims to change the name of Hemming Park. “If you think about it, James Weldon Johnson is the most famous person that was ever born and raised here in Jacksonville. No matter where you go, everyone knows James Weldon Johnson,” Dennis said. City Council changed the name of the park from St. James Park to Hemming Park after his donation in 1899. Days after the removal of Confederate statute in Jacksonville’s Hemming Park, a woman came forward and shared that her great-great-grandfather was a slave owned by Charles Hemming’s family.
Jacksonville celebrates birthday of James Weldon Johnson, writer of Black National Anthem
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Jacksonville native James Weldon Johnsons birthday is Wednesday. Johnson was the first of many influencers for the black community and it started on this day in 1871. The amazing amount of accomplishments, he was able to pull off, and really horrible Jim Crow era, is both fascinating and breathtaking, said Antonio Allegretti, Jacksonville History Advocate. Johnson assisted writers during the Harlem Renaissance and was the first black principal of Stanton School, now Stanton College Preparatory School, the school from which he graduated. So he had 8th graders come back and surreptitiously go to 9th grade and then 10th grade, Allegretti said.