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Final Confederate monument in Jacksonville comes down in Springfield Park

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After years of debate, the Confederate monument in Springfield Park was taken down on Wednesday.

Charles B. Garrison, the chair for the City of Jacksonville’s Planning Commission, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, said that Mayor Donna Deegan ordered the removal of the monument to “[honor] our present and [build] a future where every member of our community feels seen and respected.”


Crews started working on the monument at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Action News Jax told you in June 2020 when work crews removed a statue and plaque honoring Confederate soldiers in what was then known as Hemming Park, now called James Weldon Johnson Park, in downtown Jacksonville. That monument was also removed in the wee hours of the morning, under the direction of then-Mayor Lenny Curry.

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After that monument’s removal, during a peaceful protest in Jacksonville at the steps of City Hall, Curry announced that all Confederate monuments citywide would be removed.

The following entities gave Action News Jax statements on the removal of the “Women of Confederacy Monument:”

City of Jacksonville:

“Mayor Donna Deegan announced that the Confederate statues are being removed from Springfield Park today. This memorial was erected during the peak of early 20th century Confederate monument-building, part of a widespread campaign to promote and justify Jim Crow laws in the South and intimidate African Americans.

“‘Symbols matter. They tell the world what we stand for and what we aspire to be. By removing the confederate monument from Springfield Park, we signal a belief in our shared humanity. That we are all created equal. The same flesh and bones. The same blood running through our veins. The same heart and soul,’ said Mayor Donna Deegan. ‘This is not in any way an attempt to erase history but to show that we’ve learned from it. That when we know better, we do better by and for each other. My prayer today is for our beautiful city to continue embracing unity and bending the arc of history towards justice. Let’s keep lifting as we climb.’

“The large statue within the monument and the smaller statue on top are being removed with funding made available through a grant that the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and anonymous donors made to 904WARD. The plaque is also being removed and engravings of the pedestal will be covered with temporary plaques. The cost of this work is $187,000 in an agreement between 904WARD and ACON Construction. The Office of General Counsel reviewed the mayor’s executive authority and found that because of the separation of powers, City Council approval was unnecessary since city funds were not being utilized or requested for the work that was completed.

“‘Our legal analysis finds that Mayor Deegan has the authority as executive of the City – and because city funds are not being utilized – to control the property, the park, and the monument,” said General Counsel Michael Fackler. “We have worked closely with Procurement, Public Works, and Parks on the approved scope of work in accordance with municipal code in how we contract for and complete these services.’”

A city spokesperson said, “No decision has been made on what to do with the monument. We look forward to conversations with the community and City Council on its future. It will remain in city storage as that conversation continues.”

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Jessie Ball DuPont Fund:

“Great cities are anchored by inclusive public spaces that welcome all. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund helped fund the removal of the Springfield Park Confederate statue so that our public spaces might be more welcoming and inclusive for all Jaxsons. Removing – but not erasing – statues that commemorate the Confederacy from public lands is critical to creating communities where everyone feels they belong.

“We applaud Mayor Donna Deegan’s bold action and clarity of vision. We are grateful to nonprofit partners like 904ward who are leading equity work in our city.

“Funding this work continues our engagement on the issue of monuments and commemoration, which dates back more than five years, starting with hosting a series of community conversations about what to do with our Confederate monuments, and the longstanding offer from two years ago to pay for and facilitate additional public conversations in response to City Council interest. What we do next as a city now that the statue has been removed is just as important as the removal itself, and we look forward to continued conversations.”

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Jacksonville City Council member Nick Howland:

“Donna Deegan is our Mayor, not our Monarch. Waiting until the cover of night - on a holiday evening no less - before taking a backhoe to the 100-year-old ‘Women of the South’ monument in Springfield is a blatant overreach of her authority.

“The City Council Finance Committee specifically mandated that any funding to be spent on the statue - whether for removal, relocation, or contextualization - must follow a Council policy decision. This was unanimously approved by the Council and signed by the Mayor.

“Regardless of anyone’s personal opinion of this historic monument, Mayor Deegan’s actions are both an abuse of power and a blatant disregard for transparency.

“This was City Council’s decision to make. Period.”

City Council President Ron Salem:

“I acknowledge the removal of the Confederate monument from Springfield Park this morning, recognizing the complexities surrounding historical symbols. While understanding the desire for change, it’s crucial to ensure open dialogue and legislative oversight in an effort to promote a unified approach to addressing historical artifacts. I was made aware of the removal this morning by Mayor Deegan. I encourage constructive dialogue to address any concerns among my colleagues and to find a shared path forward.”

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Duval County GOP Chairman and Florida House Rep. Dean Black:

“The unilateral decision to remove the Women of the Southland Memorial at Springfield Park is a stunning abuse of power by Mayor Donna Deegan.

“This action, undertaken in the middle of the night, during the holidays, without consultation of city leaders or a vote by the council, is another in a long line of woke Democrats’ obsession with Cancel Culture and tearing down history.

“Choosing to erase our history is not “brave” - it is a cowardly act done by a lawless Mayor who hides under the cover of night!

“We call on the City Council to seek immediate accountability - the people of Jacksonville expect no less.”

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Jacksonville Civic Council:

“Great progress can occur when we all unite around a common vision and move our city forward. To move forward, it is time we put the issue of Confederate monuments behind us. The Civic Council believes strongly that in the next decade our city can become a ‘destination of choice for all families and individuals, businesses, and graduates.’ Guided by our new strategic plan, we are working tirelessly with leaders and stakeholders across the community to make Jacksonville a world-class city.

“Since 2017, the Jacksonville Civic Council has been clear on its position on the removal of Confederate monuments on city-owned land. On two separate occasions we called for the removal of the Confederate Monument in Springfield Park. When no action was taken, we proposed an alternative solution that would ensure all interested stakeholders had a place to listen and be heard, facilitated by an independent party. Again, no action was taken.

“Today, action was taken. We applaud and support the Mayor’s decisive action.”

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NAACP Jacksonville Branch President Isaiah Rumlin:

“In a resolute stance against symbols of hatred, racism, bigotry, injustice, and slavery, the Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP vehemently advocated for the removal of all Confederate Monuments, Memorials, and Markers from public property.

“The recent removal of the monument paying tribute to the women of the Southern Confederacy is a commendable step in the right direction. The decision to take down this monument signifies a positive move toward acknowledging the need for change. However, we recognize that Jacksonville still faces significant challenges, and there is more work to be done.

“These Confederate monuments serve as painful reminders of a dark chapter in our nation’s history, perpetuating symbols of oppression and discrimination. The Jacksonville Branch NAACP, along with the National Office of the NAACP, stands united against all forms of hatred, racism, and discrimination.

“Florida’s unfortunate ranking as second nationally in hate group numbers necessitates a proactive approach. While acknowledging Mayor Donna Deegan’s positive step in removing the monument, we emphasize that there is still much ground to cover. The Jacksonville Branch NAACP remains committed to standing in the gap for a community free from divisive symbols. We call on the city council to continue the momentum and expedite the removal of all Confederate statues, Memorials, and Markers from public spaces.

“As we navigate this journey toward a more inclusive and equitable Jacksonville, we are optimistic that our collective efforts will lead to a city that truly reflects the values of unity, respect, and diversity.”

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Duval County Democratic Black Caucus:

“In our relentless pursuit of justice and equality, the Duval County Democratic Black Caucus, applauds the recent removal of the tribute to the women of the Southern Confederacy in Jacksonville, Florida.

“The tribute, dating back to 1915 and placed by the Florida Division - United Confederate Veterans, stood as a symbol with roots in an era marred by racial injustice.

“The recent removal signifies a positive stride towards dismantling symbols that, while historically complex, held ties to a dark chapter in our nation’s history.

“With the removal of the tribute to the women of the Southern Confederacy, we believe a significant step towards dismantling systemic racism has been taken. Our focus now shifts to building a more inclusive, equitable Jacksonville.

“We encourage the community to view this juncture as an opportunity for unity, understanding, and collective growth. The symbolic dismantling of these monuments paves the way for a Jacksonville that truly represents progress, justice, and equality for all.

“Let this be the catalyst for continued dialogue, understanding, and the collective effort to propel Jacksonville forward into a brighter and more inclusive future.”

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