Locals look for another solution to the Confederate statue controversy

Controversy continues to surround the confederate statue in Hemming Park.

The arguments regarding whether or not it should remain where it stands echoes similar arguments throughout the South where confederate monuments are prevalent: "Remove them" or "leave them alone."

The Hemming Park monument showcasing a confederate soldier has been around for 119 years. It has survived the Great Fire of 1901 and lived through both World Wars and the Civil Rights movement.

"Jacksonville was rebuilt around that memorial," said Seber Newsome, a local veteran who doesn't want the statue removed. "It has not harmed anyone." He added that the statue represents Southern history.

Newsome added that the statue is a memorial to the dead soldiers of Florida who served in the Civil War.

"We're not trying to get rid of history," said Mike Todd, a local activist who wants the statue removed. "The books aren't changing. We just want our community to feel they're more at home." Todd added that he thinks the statues symbolize racism.

Yet, instead of removing them completely, both Todd and Newsome agree there should be another solution. For Todd, that involves moving the monuments instead of taking them down completely.

"We've been in contact with local museums to see if they would be ok with us moving the monuments into their spaces," he said.

Newsome, on the other hand, believes that instead of removing or moving the monuments, Jacksonville should balance out history and add monuments dedicated to African Americans who have made an impact on the nation.

"Alexander Darnes was the first black doctor in Jacksonville, the second in Florida," Newsome said. "They need to put up a monument to him here. Other ones, James Weldon Johnson."

"Put up more memorials and monuments, don't take them down, Newsome said.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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