It looks like the City Council is going to get a piece of the public’s mind Tuesday night on the value of having an accurate historical record of Jacksonville.
Currently, the council is considering another piece of legislation that would take the city in another direction.
A divisive bill calling for tearing down more of Jacksonville’s history is before the council, sponsored by Council Member Matt Carlucci.
Public comments will be heard and a large number of residents who want to preserve history, be inclusive and promote unity are planning to speak.
The subject is monuments and memorials that reflect the city and nation’s history. A small number of people want them torn down and are focused on a memorial to the widows and children of soldiers who died during the Civil War.
It is more about politics than history. Although Carlucci is registered as a Republican, it is mostly members of the Democrat Party that support his bill.
Carlucci’s bill would appease a small number of liberal voters who gain by racial disunity. It is opposed by another group called the Unity Project.
They want to increase the recognition of contributions to the city’s history made by residents with black skin.
They propose a civil rights heritage trail with 19 locations that are important to Jacksonville history and especially to Jacksonville residents who have black skin.
Its centerpiece would be Springfield Park, renamed Unity Park, where a new statue would be erected to complement the existing one. The new one would depict a black family and reflect the conditions preceding the Emancipation Proclamation.
The group’s flyer says “let’s celebrate and respect each other rather than spreading division and discord.”
It is difficult to see why anyone would not agree with that statement.
An alternative to Carlucci’s proposal also is before the council. Council Member Al Ferraro wants to put the issue on the ballot and let the voters decide between dividing and uniting people.
Jacksonville residents come from many backgrounds and cultures but always get along unless people deliberately stir up hatred for political reasons. The majority of those involved in efforts to divide Americans belong to a political party that supported both slavery and segregation. It is time for them to allow people to live, work and play together peacefully.