The city of Jacksonville, Florida, will be removing Confederate monuments city-wide, Mayor Lenny Curry (R) announced this week, with the city already removing a 122-year-old statue honoring fallen Confederate soldiers in downtown’s Hemming Park, as many activists across the nation take matters into their own hands, toppling statues and vandalizing monuments.
On Tuesday, workers removed the statue of a Confederate soldier in Hemming Park — a statue that has stood there since 1898:
— Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) June 9, 2020
“The monument was donated to the state of Florida by Charles C. and Lucy Key Hemming. Standing at 62 feet, the Confederate statue was one of the few landmarks of Jacksonville that survived the 1901 fire,” Action News Jax reported.
“The confederate monument is gone,” Curry said this week. “And the others in this city will be removed as well. We hear your voices. We have heard your voices”:
We hear you…I understand your anger and frustration…We are bringing forth legislation that will unite all government agencies with the public to hear your voice. pic.twitter.com/ZjHnpFDwke
— City of Jacksonville (COJ) (@CityofJax) June 9, 2020
Curry’s office has since detailed the other Civil War monuments and historical markers that will be coming down in the city “over the next few weeks,” a Curry spokeswoman told First Coast News.
Other monuments and markers that will be taken down include the Monument to the Women of the Southland in Confederate Park, erected in 1915, and Old City Cemetery’s Grandstand, erected in 1926.
It remains unclear where the monuments and markers will be taken, but Curry’s office is reportedly working with the cultural council to “determine the best location.”
The move comes as racial unrest sweeps the country, as some protesters take to the streets and dismantle historic statues and monuments themselves. Demonstrators in Portsmouth, Virginia, for example, vandalized and beheaded four statues on a Confederate monument on Wednesday:
All four have been beheaded tonight pic.twitter.com/uMRKFziPYb
— Saleen Martin (@Saleen_Martin) June 11, 2020
Similarly, protesters in St. Paul, Minnesota, tore down a Christopher Columbus outside the state’s Capitol building, contending that he serves as a “symbol of genocide against Native Americans,” the Associated Press reported:
— Nick Streiff (@nickstreiff) June 10, 2020
Protesters also beheaded a statue of Christopher Columbus in Boston.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is also calling for the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
“As I have said before, the halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” she said in a letter to leaders of the Joint Committee on the Library.
“Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals. Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage,” she added. “They must be removed.”