JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video attached to this story is from a previous report.
A Civil War statue that some have suggested could be “rededicated” to neutralize any racist intent is topped by a Confederate Flag, which cannot be seen from ground-level.
New drone photos released Sunday by Jacksonville City Councilmember Matt Carlucci show the stars of the confederate flag atop the Women of the Southland statue in Springfield Park.
Carlucci says he took the drone photos to resolve any questions about what flag the figure at the apex of the statue is holding.
The photos "confirm the presence of the Confederate flag atop the Monument to the Women of the Southern Confederacy, featuring the “stars and bars” pattern carried by the Southern army into battle. The female “victory” figure embraces the flag as it stands sentinel over what was then Confederate Park," Carlucci said in a statement.
Erected in 1915, the same year the former “Confederate Park” it inhabits was named, the statue is one of several that local activists have demanded be removed, and one Mayor Lenny Curry promised would be removed during protests in the summer of 2020.
The Confederate soldier statue in James Weldon Johnson Park was removed, though the pillar it stood on remains, along with the base, which reads “Confederate Memorial 1861-1865.”
The “Women of the Southland” statue is a tribute to the “Lost Cause” movement, which aims to portray the Confederacy as heroic and minimize the central role of slavery in the Civil War. Its inscription reads, “Let this mute but eloquent structure speak to generations to come of a generation of the past. Let it repeat perpetually the imperishable story of our women of the 60s, those noble women who sacrificed their all upon their country’s altar.”
Because the visible parts of the statute don’t explicitly glorify the Confederacy, some have suggested it could be repurposed rather than removed. A “working group” created by Curry concluded that the statue “must no longer stand as they have, in celebration of the Confederacy,” but stopped short of suggesting it be removed:
- "Proposal #1: Rededicate the monument in a public ceremony to celebrate all women of the Southland. Create plaque acknowledging the work’s racist past as well as the City’s conscious attempt to re-inscribe that legacy. Recontextualize it to incorporate people of all backgrounds. Keep the new official name Springfield Park, but rededicate the park to women. Promote the park as a safe women’s space. Have patrols keep walkways clean. Significant investment in park to refurbish and add amenities and infrastructure. Re-name Confederate Road."
- "Proposal #2: Build on ideas of rededication articulated in Proposal #1, but there may be a need to physically transform the monument to make it serve the City of Jacksonville in the future."
Wells Todd of Take ‘Em Down Jax has said rededicating the monuments will not erase their racist roots. “There are people who want to protect these monuments who don’t know the true history behind them," Todd said. "These monuments were put up to instill fear in the Black community and they were put up to celebrate white supremacy."
Carlucci’s bill setting a July deadline for coming up with a plan to remove the statue and capping costs at $500,000 has its final vote Tuesday night.