Last Confederate monument in Jacksonville being removed from Springfield Park

Jacksonville — Crews began removing the Women of the Confederacy statue in Springfield Park during the early morning hours Wednesday. It was the last remaining confederate statue in Jacksonville.

A post on X from the chair of the city’s planning commission says Mayor Donna Deegan ordered the removal.

In 2020 crews staged a similar overnight takedown of a confederate statue in what was then Hemming Park, now James Weldon Johnson Park.

The city released a statement saying the Springfield Park memorial was erected during the peak of early 20th century Confederate monument-building, part of a widespread campaign to promote and justify Jim Crow laws in the South and intimidate African Americans.

“Symbols matter, said Mayor Donna Deegan in the press release.

“They tell the world what we stand for and what we aspire to be. By removing the confederate monument from Springfield Park, we signal a belief in our shared humanity. That we are all created equal. The same flesh and bones. The same blood running through our veins. The same heart and soul. This is not in any way an attempt to erase history but to show that we’ve learned from it. That when we know better, we do better by and for each other. My prayer today is for our beautiful city to continue embracing unity and bending the arc of history towards justice. Let’s keep lifting as we climb.”

The city says the large statue within the monument and the smaller statue on top are being removed with funding made available through a grant that the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and anonymous donors made to 904WARD. The plaque is also being removed and engravings of the pedestal will be covered with temporary plaques. The cost of this work is $187,000 in an agreement between 904WARD and ACON Construction.

The Office of General Counsel reviewed the mayor’s executive authority and found that because of the separation of powers, City Council approval was unnecessary since city funds were not being utilized or requested for the work that was completed.

“Our legal analysis finds that Mayor Deegan has the authority as executive of the City – and because city funds are not being utilized – to control the property, the park, and the monument,” said General Counsel Michael Fackler. “We have worked closely with Procurement, Public Works, and Parks on the approved scope of work in accordance with municipal code in how we contract for and complete these services.”

April Davis

April Davis, News 104.5 WOKV

April Davis is WOKV’s News Director and Morning Co-anchor of Jacksonville’s Morning News on News 104.5. April joined WOKV in 2023 after more than 20 years as a reporter, anchor and manager at TV and radio stations in Alaska, Alabama, the Carolinas, Colorado, and Georgia.

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