Author Topic: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?  (Read 1370 times)

thelakelander

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Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« on: April 22, 2018, 07:56:21 AM »


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Fifty-eight years after blacks and whites met in a church to negotiate integrating Jacksonville lunch counters following a riot, a city task force is considering whether that church should become a museum.

Snyder Memorial, a one-time Methodist church, was a sanctuary for some blacks who were beaten with ax handles and baseball bats by whites attacking downtown lunch-counter demonstrations in 1960. Meetings between white businessmen, ministers and black activists began months later, as downtown merchants felt the pinch of a black boycott.

The building on the edge of Hemming Park was suggested as a museum site this month by a task force member who was a sit-in organizer and took part in the talks that followed, Rodney Hurst.

“It just makes sense,” said Hurst, a civil rights activist and former City Council member. “It’s a city-owned building and it has civil rights history.”

The task force on Jacksonville’s civil rights history is supposed to recommend steps to build knowledge of local civil rights history and cultivate tourism involving civil rights sites. The task force has no power to decide Snyder’s future, only to recommend choices to Council President Anna Lopez Brosche.

So far, nothing has even been recommended about the 1903-vintage building, which has been vacant for years and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Full article: http://www.jacksonville.com/news/20180421/in-long-empty-church-activist-sees-potential-for-museum-of-jacksonvilles-civil-rights-past
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 07:58:29 AM by thelakelander »
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Tacachale

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2018, 08:42:16 AM »
Interesting idea, but unless someone’s got some money to put toward it I can’t see it happening. The space may be better for something open at night anyway.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

KenFSU

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2018, 09:23:12 AM »
Like the idea of a civil rights history museum in downtown Jacksonville, don't love the idea of Snyder housing it. With so much activity taking place along Laura Street, particularly in terms of residential and hotel, that space is just screaming for bar/restaurant/live music. There's too much dead space after 6 pm already around Hemming Park.

Personally, if a new covention center does happen, I think the Prime Osborn would be a great spot for a museum of Jacksonville's history, inclusive of civil rights. Even if returned to its original transit use, there would be plenty of room for it. In the meantime, I think we really are overdue for a proper Ax Handle Saturday monument/sculpture in Hemming Park.
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thelakelander

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2018, 09:53:00 AM »
Jax should have museums on local history and it doesn't have to be limited to a single museum for everything. Kingsley, Fort Caroline, MOSH, Catherine Street Fire Station Museum, LaVilla Ritz, Norman Studios, etc. are all museums that tell certain aspects of the region's history. The more the merrier if there are groups out there that can financially support them. With that said, this article is somewhat troubling to me. It reads as if committee members are  advocating for their own sites and projects that they are individually most passionate about. Should Jax have a civil rights museum? Sure, I don't think there are many people out there who would say that it shouldn't. However, figuring out the proper location, scale, cost, maintenance, etc. of such a place is something that goes way outside of the expertise of a council task force. It's also something where coordination and clustering with other complementing projects in the downtown area makes sense. Without coordination and clustering, to help generate traffic, we'd end up looking at a failed history museum within a few years after its opening.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 09:57:12 AM by thelakelander »
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I-10east

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2018, 08:58:01 PM »
^^^Fair enough.

lastdaysoffla

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2018, 12:06:43 AM »
I've thought in the past(and I know I'm not the only one) that Snyder would make a good music venue but there are already a ton of venues Downtown including the Florida Theater and Daily's. The smaller venues/clubs have a hard time I imagine getting people to come Downtown for a majority of their shows and I don't think adding another venue will help this equation.


The idea of a history museum is great. I think a core exhibit about Civil Rights and the Black History of Jacksonville with rotating exhibits about local/regional history would be the way to go. Sure, it wouldn't bring the synergy of a great bar or restaurant or whatever but it would give people something to do on that corner. Think of all the 'museums' in St. Augustine that tourists gladly pay admission to fill an hour or so and get out of the heat.

There is plenty of vacant space Downtown for bars and restaurants, there isn't exactly an abundance of 115 year old churches available  though...

RattlerGator

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2018, 08:12:53 AM »
A civil rights museum there would likely turn out to be a dead space. Hopefully there is a more inspiring possibility.

I keep banging the drum about UNF.

This sure seems like a space they should take on, creatively utilize and bring some youthful life back downtown. Their arts programs, their student government, their business school, etc. -- there's quite a bit they could do to make it an entertainment venue with some diversity of use.

thelakelander

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2018, 08:43:19 AM »
Excluding the UNF thing, I'd agree with Rattler. A civil rights museum would struggle to financially survive at Snyder. It would need to be in an area with similar attractions to benefit from extra foot traffic, exposure and synergy. Alone, it would face the same struggle that the USS Adams will.
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Tacachale

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2018, 09:27:19 AM »
^I'd agree with that, too. And even if it did work out there, it'd be another space that's dead after 5 or 6 p.m. That would be the problem with any museum/visitor center use of that building.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

KenFSU

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2018, 09:30:46 AM »
I've thought in the past(and I know I'm not the only one) that Snyder would make a good music venue but there are already a ton of venues Downtown including the Florida Theater and Daily's. The smaller venues/clubs have a hard time I imagine getting people to come Downtown for a majority of their shows and I don't think adding another venue will help this equation.

Apples and oranges.

Daily's Place and Florida Theater are ticketed venues.

You pick a show that you want to go to in advance, throw down $50 for a ticket, drive downtown, and see the show.

Snyder would make an amazing bar/restaurant, programmed with live music, similar to what we saw at Jazz fest:



I also think a great venue at Snyder would be less important for drawing people downtown, and more important for keeping people downtown. Every day around 5:00 PM, thousands of people leave their jobs, flood out onto the streets, and rush to their cars just to wait in traffic.

There aren't a lot of great happy hour spots downtown, especially along downtown's most important street, Laura. I work next door to Snynder, and when we want to happy hour, we usually end up driving to Intuition.

It would also complement all the new residential and hotel development ongoing or proposed along Laura Street.

It's not a new concept, cities all over the world are transforming old churches into bars with great success.






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DrQue

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2018, 09:47:35 AM »
One thing is certain: this location matters. It sits in the heart of downtown across from City Hall, the Library, Hemming Park, MOCA, and the Federal Courthouse. There is also a Confederate soldier facing south.

Symbols matter. Placing a Civil Rights Museum in this setting sends the message that Equal Rights stand alongside Government, Knowledge, the Arts, and Justice. I don't think it would would have the same effect if built elsewhere.

I agree this would be a fantastic venue, social setting etc. I also think that this is a rare opportunity to make an enduring declaration, and for that, I lean toward a Museum and Monument.   


Tacachale

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2018, 10:05:52 AM »
Regardless of all else, it's important to understand that there's no actual proposal from anyone to put a museum there. It's very a much a "it would be cool if we did this" suggestion from a City Council task force.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

lastdaysoffla

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2018, 10:19:12 AM »

Apples and oranges.

I wasn't trying to compare a proposed venue at Snyder to the Florida Theater or Daily's, I was just saying that there are venues now for every kind of act that's coming through town already. The 1904's and other similarly sized bar/venues are not major draws why would a similar setup in the church work so much better?

Now, if we are talking about a restaurant with live music, that's a different thing and I could see that working.

As to people leaving Downtown empty after 6pm, they are jumping in their cars because they are going to where they live. People don't want to sit and have a happy hour then drive for 20-30 mins home, ya know? The problem isn't that there aren't places for happy hour downtown, it's that people don't live there.

KenFSU

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2018, 01:00:00 PM »
One thing is certain: this location matters. It sits in the heart of downtown across from City Hall, the Library, Hemming Park, MOCA, and the Federal Courthouse. There is also a Confederate soldier facing south.

Symbols matter. Placing a Civil Rights Museum in this setting sends the message that Equal Rights stand alongside Government, Knowledge, the Arts, and Justice. I don't think it would would have the same effect if built elsewhere.

I agree this would be a fantastic venue, social setting etc. I also think that this is a rare opportunity to make an enduring declaration, and for that, I lean toward a Museum and Monument.   

Alternate idea:

Take down the racist statue  ;D
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KenFSU

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Re: Snyder Memorial as a Civil Rights History Museum?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2018, 01:01:05 PM »
As to people leaving Downtown empty after 6pm, they are jumping in their cars because they are going to where they live. People don't want to sit and have a happy hour then drive for 20-30 mins home, ya know? The problem isn't that there aren't places for happy hour downtown, it's that people don't live there.

Fair point, probably a bit of both.
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