Author Topic: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson  (Read 1323 times)

thelakelander

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Hmm....I'd say give JWJ his proper due at Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing Park and I was under the impression we were already doing a Gullah Geechee/Veterans Park in Cosmo? Perhaps they should keep it simple and return the to the original name.....City Park?

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A move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson, the Jacksonville native who composed the famous anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing," ran into opposition after veterans organizations made a late-breaking push to rechristen the city's first and oldest park as Veterans Memorial Park.

The city council's neighborhood committee deferred a vote Monday on legislation (2020-357) that would put Johnson's name on the downtown park after City Council member Danny Becton proposed a substitute to call it Veterans Memorial Park.

Some members of the city council's Neighborhoods Committee described themselves as torn between two worthy choices. The debate also ignited exchanges between Becton and council member Garrett Dennis, who questioned why there was reluctance to honor an internationally known Black resident of the city by naming the park after him. Becton said Dennis was injecting racism into the discussion.

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2020/08/03/move-rename-hemming-park-puts-two-choices-before-city-council/5571334002/
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2020, 10:20:12 PM »
We already have "Veterans Memorial Arena."  No offense to veterans, but similarly naming another site seems like it "waters down" the honor already bestowed upon them.

And, no offense to JWJ, but there may be more appropriate ways to honor him as Lake notes. 

So, I agree with Lake on the original (and historic) name of City Park (not unlike NYC's naming of "Central Park"?).

Tacachale

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2020, 10:57:29 PM »
This was just another case of city officials plowing forward with their own ideas in a silo. Citizens weren't approached about the names, or if this is how we want to honor JWJ. Ditto on the veterans suggestion. It was bound to end in disagreement.
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?

jaxjaguar

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2020, 02:43:28 AM »
Hear me out, but What about "Heritage Park"? Throughout time various oppressed peoples have tried to take back words that were used against them. A word that many racists use to justify the monuments and parks that are being rethought across the country is "heritage". We could use this opportunity to give the word some real meaning and teach the racists and bigot's about our real heritage, by owning up to the atrocities of our past and honoring those who slaved for, fought for and died for "the south" during a major mar in our countries past.

I'm not familiar enough with this topic to know if this is remotely possible, but it would be cool to have a wall of names of known "owned" families and families/peoples affected by racist acts of violence, "justice", etc who lived in Jacksonville similar to the Veterans Memorial wall. There could also be some sort of statue similar to the one at Memorial Park that symbolized the "forgotten families".

I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar with the Irish Hunger memorial in New York, but I'm imagining something like that with 2 statues/monuments one at the entrance and one at the far end of the opening. The interior with all of the family names on the walls would represent the "dark period" of our countries past. The large opening facing the second monument/statue would represent our countries enlightenment and acknowledgement of our heritage. A pathway to the top of the "hill" would have plaques along the way starting with descriptions of what happened, how we got to this point and finally at the top how we can prevent it from happening again.




« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 02:46:38 AM by jaxjaguar »

Steve

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2020, 10:44:40 AM »
This was just another case of city officials plowing forward with their own ideas in a silo. Citizens weren't approached about the names, or if this is how we want to honor JWJ. Ditto on the veterans suggestion. It was bound to end in disagreement.

Agreed - I do feel like now there's no way to have this conversation though without venom...as evidenced by the Twitter population lol. Right now I feel like if you disagree with JWJ Park then you're racist - a little frustrating but whatever.

Personally I'd want to revert to it's previous name (St. James Park) but I feel like at this point it's already a mess because of how this was done.

FlaBoy

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2020, 11:45:18 AM »
This was just another case of city officials plowing forward with their own ideas in a silo. Citizens weren't approached about the names, or if this is how we want to honor JWJ. Ditto on the veterans suggestion. It was bound to end in disagreement.

Agreed - I do feel like now there's no way to have this conversation though without venom...as evidenced by the Twitter population lol. Right now I feel like if you disagree with JWJ Park then you're racist - a little frustrating but whatever.

Personally I'd want to revert to it's previous name (St. James Park) but I feel like at this point it's already a mess because of how this was done.

St. James Park makes a lot of sense with its historic ties to the name and the St. James Building being right there.

Steve

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2020, 12:50:33 PM »
This was just another case of city officials plowing forward with their own ideas in a silo. Citizens weren't approached about the names, or if this is how we want to honor JWJ. Ditto on the veterans suggestion. It was bound to end in disagreement.

Agreed - I do feel like now there's no way to have this conversation though without venom...as evidenced by the Twitter population lol. Right now I feel like if you disagree with JWJ Park then you're racist - a little frustrating but whatever.

Personally I'd want to revert to it's previous name (St. James Park) but I feel like at this point it's already a mess because of how this was done.

St. James Park makes a lot of sense with its historic ties to the name and the St. James Building being right there.

Further...the St James building was named after the St. James Hotel previously on the site. The St. James Hotel was named after.....St. James Park.

It absolutely ties out.

Tacachale

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2020, 01:53:54 PM »
Rory Diamond said on Twitter he’s gotten a letter of support from vets for renaming it after Johnson, with the area around the flagpoles called “veterans plaza”. There may be a way forward after all.
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?

Bill Hoff

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2020, 02:27:25 PM »
Rory Diamond said on Twitter he’s gotten a letter of support from vets for renaming it after Johnson, with the area around the flagpoles called “veterans plaza”. There may be a way forward after all.


What about our children? Not naming it "Children's Plaza" shows how little these politicians care about our kids. This blatant anti-family gesture will not stand!

BridgeTroll

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2020, 05:02:59 PM »
This was just another case of city officials plowing forward with their own ideas in a silo. Citizens weren't approached about the names, or if this is how we want to honor JWJ. Ditto on the veterans suggestion. It was bound to end in disagreement.

Agreed - I do feel like now there's no way to have this conversation though without venom...as evidenced by the Twitter population lol. Right now I feel like if you disagree with JWJ Park then you're racist - a little frustrating but whatever.

Personally I'd want to revert to it's previous name (St. James Park) but I feel like at this point it's already a mess because of how this was done.

St. James Park makes a lot of sense with its historic ties to the name and the St. James Building being right there.

Further...the St James building was named after the St. James Hotel previously on the site. The St. James Hotel was named after.....St. James Park.

It absolutely ties out.

Except it leaves out Muslims and Native Americans... clearly Christianity was used to subjugate Native Americans and Muslims throughout history.  I  think City Park is bland and generic enough to avoid any bloodshed or rioting...
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Steve

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2020, 07:52:16 PM »
And this is going further in the direction of a lack of leadership:

https://news.wjct.org/post/councilman-files-rename-5-parks-after-james-weldon-johnson-debate

sandyshoes

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2020, 03:04:08 PM »
Reply #8:  Well DONE, Hoff. 

Ken_FSU

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2020, 02:17:32 PM »
Hemming signage has all been removed from the park.

FHP is working with the city on branding for the new name.

Color scheme is going to be changing significantly from the existing green, likely to something a little more offputting to a Noles fan, but isn't finalized yet.

Totally think it was the right move in 2020 to rename the park, but it's still odd to walk through and see all the Hemming signage gone.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2020, 07:51:55 PM »
I wonder what the short name will be, because we're not going to say "James Weldon Johnson Park" every time. Johnson Park?
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Josh

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Re: Council split on move to rename Hemming Park after James Weldon Johnson
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2020, 10:09:28 AM »
Or "JWJ Park."

I'm sure "Hemming" will stick around for a while as well.