Author Topic: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials  (Read 9093 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« on: August 16, 2017, 10:40:01 PM »
Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials



Although few in number compared to many other Southern cities, a variety of monuments and memorials commemorating the Civil War exist in Jacksonville. These include graves, historic sites associated with camps and battles, monuments to those on both sides of the war, and schools and placenames dedicated to Civil War figures.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2017-aug-jacksonvilles-civil-war-memorials

Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 11:07:16 PM »
Nice article, Taca.

Personally, I'm kind of neutral in the whole debate.  I try to understand both sides of the issue, but I do believe that the context around the erection of the statues/monuments  should most definitely be considered.  Meaning, I'd never given much thought before to why some of these were commissioned until it's been pointed out that a great many of them were done in spite and bad spirit. 

My hope is that more impetus is placed on the why (it was installed) rather than the what (it represents historically), but I'm afraid that bridge has already been crossed and burned based on the mob-mentality reactions that I see on social media.
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KenFSU

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 11:47:38 PM »
I try to understand both sides of the issue, but I do believe that the context around the erection of the statues/monuments  should most definitely be considered.  Meaning, I'd never given much thought before to why some of these were commissioned until it's been pointed out that a great many of them were done in spite and bad spirit.

Agreed.

Some of the information in this article genuinely made me sick to my stomach.

Great article, Bill.

In terms of Confederate Monuments, namely Hemming, even a few months ago, I would have said keep them up for their historical value, but qualify it with some kind of disclaimer. With everything that is going on in this country right now though, I say tear it down yesterday or put it in a museum. I don't care, just get rid of it. Taking down a bronze statue isn't going to sanitize or change our history one bit.

Also, I never knew that this inscription was on the Hemming statue either until I read it in a really great column by Mark Woods:

Quote
Perhaps the most prominent monument in all of Jacksonville — in the middle of the park in the middle of town, across the street from City Hall — is the Confederate Monument.

Atop the 62-foot granite obelisk, there is a bronze soldier. Around the base are a series of plaques. With renovations to the surrounding fountain, they’re hard to see. But one is for E. Kirby Smith (“A Christian Soldier”) and one is for J.J. Dickison (“Tried and True”). One is an ode to the “deeds immortal” of the Southern soldier. And one is a depiction of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee on horses, surrounded by dozens of Confederate soldiers, along with two words and a period.

OUR HEROES.


That, quite simply, is the message that this monument has been sending ever since it was unveiled more than 30 years after the war ended. With its location, it speaks for this city and says that nearly 120 years later, our highest of heroes still are the men who fought for the Confederacy.

Seriously, historic artifact or not, how does ANYONE defend having such a vile display on the front steps of our city hall?

Don't care about the original intent, or the perceived historical value. That's a disgusting inscription to have on the front doorstep of our city, and keeping that monument up another day will only serve to cause problems. It will galvanize racists, and deeply offend others. For what? Just because it's been there a long time or because it survived the Great Fire?

To me, what's happened in Charlottesville, and frankly in the country in the last twelve months, has changed the narrative on this whole debate. The history buffs ain't the ones clamoring to keep these monuments up, the hateful anti-Obama white nationalist crowd are.

Found this tweet is rather poignant:


And if you haven't seen Vice's recent documentary, it's a must watch:
http://uproxx.com/news/mini-doc-white-supremacists-charlottesville-vice/

Take it down, set it on fire, change the name of the schools, do whatever you need to do to send the message that Jacksonville is a city of equality and compassion, with zero tolerance for racism or hatred.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 11:49:27 PM by KenFSU »
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BridgeTroll

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2017, 07:02:33 AM »
Thanks for the article Taca... my position is close to NRW... I never really understood the south's need to erect monuments to a lost cause.  I am originally from the north... and I suspect many of us in the "I dont care if you tear em down" camp are from northern states or their relatives are from there.  I certainly do not recall a large number of Union statues, memorials, schools named for union generals up north compared with the south...
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riverside_mail

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2017, 07:50:46 AM »
Thanks for the article Taca... my position is close to NRW... I never really understood the south's need to erect monuments to a lost cause.  I am originally from the north... and I suspect many of us in the "I dont care if you tear em down" camp are from northern states or their relatives are from there.  I certainly do not recall a large number of Union statues, memorials, schools named for union generals up north compared with the south...
From my home state of Ohio:

Ohioans have built at least 295 monuments to commemorate Civil War veterans, civilians, political leaders, and war-related events in the state.  Eighty-six of the state’s eighty-eight counties contain Civil War monuments, with Hamilton County, Lucas County, Lorain County, Brown County, and Franklin County each boasting ten or more memorials each. Only Clinton County and Noble County do not contain Civil War monuments.

Source: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1624

KenFSU

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2017, 08:32:14 AM »
Honest question:

If we consider American slavery to be a shameful atrocity from our past, how is having confederate monuments in our public spaces any different than Germany having Nazi memorials in their public squares? How is having a Jefferson Davis Middle School any different than having an Adolph Hitler Middle School in Berlin? Regardless of whatever nuance of what people believe that the south truly stood for, both movements centered on the oppression, imprisonment, exploitation and abuse of entire races.

Take the ones in public spaces down.

The Confederate army ain't my "heroes."
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BridgeTroll

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2017, 08:47:29 AM »
Honest question:

If we consider American slavery to be a shameful atrocity from our past, how is having confederate monuments in our public spaces any different than Germany having Nazi memorials in their public squares? How is having a Jefferson Davis Middle School any different than having an Adolph Hitler Middle School in Berlin? Regardless of whatever nuance of what people believe that the south truly stood for, both movements centered on the oppression, imprisonment, exploitation and abuse of entire races.

Take the ones in public spaces down.

The Confederate army ain't my "heroes."

If slavery is the issue... why limit the discussion to Civil War memorials?
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2017, 08:59:23 AM »
Thanks for the article Taca... my position is close to NRW... I never really understood the south's need to erect monuments to a lost cause.  I am originally from the north... and I suspect many of us in the "I dont care if you tear em down" camp are from northern states or their relatives are from there.  I certainly do not recall a large number of Union statues, memorials, schools named for union generals up north compared with the south...
I'm black and from the south. Unlike many people, I can't trace my history to other continents. All we can trace is back to plantations in Georgia and North Carolina.  Growing up, just about every black person I know has always despised confederate monuments and flags and have generally lumped people backing them (right or wrong) as racist or ignorant of the south's multi-cultural history. With that said, count me among the camp that believes each situation should be evaluated on its own merits, in regards to removal.  I can't speak for other communities because I'm not as well versed on their history, but the majority of monuments in Jax's monuments and memorials were installed as a part of an effort to either white-wash the historical narrative of our community or spit in the face of desegregation. So if we really want to get it right with history, Hemming Park should go back to City Park or St. James Park and Confederate Park should go back to being known as Dignan Park. As for that Hemming Park monument, stick it in a cemetery like the older Union monument and move on.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 09:02:16 AM by thelakelander »
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thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2017, 09:09:22 AM »
Honest question:

If we consider American slavery to be a shameful atrocity from our past, how is having confederate monuments in our public spaces any different than Germany having Nazi memorials in their public squares? How is having a Jefferson Davis Middle School any different than having an Adolph Hitler Middle School in Berlin? Regardless of whatever nuance of what people believe that the south truly stood for, both movements centered on the oppression, imprisonment, exploitation and abuse of entire races.

Take the ones in public spaces down.

The Confederate army ain't my "heroes."

If slavery is the issue... why limit the discussion to Civil War memorials?
From my perspective, the ultimate issue is the context behind the actual Jim Crow era installation of many monuments and memorials moreso than slavery.  It was a part of an effort to promote the dominance of one race above others, which flies in the face of social equity and justice.
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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2017, 09:53:30 AM »
I hear you Lake and I do agree that the context matters... hopefully a thoughtful and honest discussion will be had...
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

spuwho

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2017, 10:17:46 AM »
In the US Capitol, in the Rotunda Room, is a large statue of Jefferson Davis which represents Virginia.

Looking at him from across the room is a statue of Rosa Parks.  (In between is one of Ronald Reagan, representing California)

In Washington DC, all the memorials face the Washington Memorial, except one.

The MLK Memorial faces the Jefferson Memorial.

The symbolism is not apparent to all, but is clear once you go there.  A reminder that you didn't look out for us, but we prevailed regardless.

The flaws of our nation are open and present for all to see. If one is a student of history, one will know that slavery and black rights were an issue from the start. But they chose to overcome the King of England first and deferred on slavery.  The problem was it took way too long to reconcile after the Union was formed.  States rights were a big deal back then, and many wanted to abolish slavery, but not at the sacrifice of states authority. Back then, states behaved as small countries of their own.

Every country has to be able to grow up and accept the sins of their past.  We have kind of pushed it off over the years (like what we did post Declaration), but now is the time to leave the troublesome adolescence of our nation and grow up.

Accept what our founding fathers (as smart as they were) were unable to resolve, put away the CSA memorials and move on with our nations life.


Tacachale

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2017, 01:11:52 PM »
Thanks for the comments, y'all. My hope with this is that it gives an idea of when our memorials were actually established. Memorials really reflect the context of their time and creators more than the thing they are memorializing. In a lot of these cases, as Lake says, the context was Jim Crow and the disenfranchisement of African-Americans, and there's never been a real accounting for that. Advocates tend to believe that it's all "history" and shouldn't ever be moved.

I have no love for Confederate symbols, but I'm really of two minds about the Hemming Park monument. I think there's a difference between a monument to soldiers, versus the ones that glorify the Confederate cause. My personal preference would be that rather than removing it, we move the Union monument down and create a bigger Civil War monument, that gives an up-to-date picture of the war and how it impacted Northeast Florida. It also could be repurposed as some other kind of memorial with minimal work. But I certainly understand the impulse to get it out of there.

My major hangup with the removal talk is that there's too little talk about what will actually happen to the monuments, and basically no talk about replacing them, let alone with anything remotely comparable. I can easily see the Hemming Park monument coming down, the city finding no museum that can hold it (it's 60 feet tall), and it going to a warehouse indefinitely, while we're stuck with another blasted out, perpetually empty spot in the middle of Downtown Jacksonville. I would much rather that talk of removal be accompanied by replacement or reworking. Does the act of removing significant but undesired structures have a good track record in our urban core?
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jlmann

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2017, 02:19:40 PM »
FYI I'm white, grew up in the South- and much deeper than Jacksonville, FL.  Though I do question that from time to time.

Basically what Lake said.

Separately, but related I think equally prominent / juxtaposed memorials would actually be a fairly good solution and perhaps powerful symbolism.  But too often you end up with Hemming: statue front and center and name unchanged, tiny ax handle riot plaque off somewhere.

In cases where we can't get to such a solution, they come down.  Tie goes to the people who've been systematically oppressed for centuries.

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2017, 03:54:08 PM »
I have never been to Germany but assume there are few if any statues commemorating Hitler and the Third Reich, even though they are an important part of their past.  Does any one know?

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Re: Jacksonville’s Civil War Memorials
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2017, 03:58:11 PM »
Nationwide list of monuments coming down... includes a nice picture of Hemming Park...

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/16/us/confederate-monuments-removed.html
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."