Local conservatives want to be inclusive, rather than dividing people.
The issue is statues and monuments reflecting the city’s history.
Those on the Far Left seek to rewrite history by removing any trace of the Confederacy.
Conservatives want to show the nation’s complete history in regard to the Civil War, both North and South.
Unity has proven to be a successful tactic in other cities, such as Franklin, Tenn.
There, the citizens added monuments and statues instead of tearing them down. The new structures honored the participation of people with black skin, and also those with white skin.
Like Jacksonville, Franklin had a confederate monument, erected in 1899. When the cancel culture came for it, the city’s officials and local citizens devised a plan to post five new markers in the square honoring a U.S. Colored Troop soldier, the Battle of Franklin, a place where slaves were sold and a riot in 1867.
Jacksonville had a proposed ordinance to remove a statue in Springfield Park that depicts a woman and two children after the death of a Civil War soldier. It was withdrawn and a commission has been formed to discuss ways to proceed with public monuments.
Local activist Seber Newsome and others have formed a group called Citizens for Unity, and have resurrected a plan that was first bought up by former Council President Anna Lopez Broche when she led a Task Force on Civil Rights in 2018.
It would create a Civil Rights Heritage Trail, built on the current African American Heritage Trail.
Springfield Park would be renamed Unity Park and a new statue would be added reflecting the conditions of slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation.
Additionally, the statue of a Confederate soldier that stood in Hemming Plaza for decades before it was spirited away in the dead of night would be restored, alongside a statue of James Weldon Johnson, for whom the park is now named.
In all, there would be 15 sites for the Civil Rights Trail. In addition to the two parks, they would include the Ritz Museum, Edward Waters College, Eartha White Museum, Old Stanton High School, the Old City Cemetery, Kingsley Plantation and various churches.
“Let’s celebrate each other and respect each other rather than spreading division and discord,” the group says in its proposal.
The proposal has been sent to the mayor and every member of City Council.