JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche wants to use private money to install a lynching memorial downtown in Hemming Park.
Council Prez @AnnaBrosche wants to install lynching victims memorial in Hemming Park. "This is the city’s history and it needs to be front and center in terms of us accepting our history, recognizing our history, understanding our history, and making sure we educate the public" pic.twitter.com/Gpea3sVXu4— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) June 22, 2018
The memorial would commemorate seven African-Americans who were lynched in Duval County.
Hemming Park is already home to a Confederate monument.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama features two sets of 800 steel columns representing each American county where people were lynched.
One set is a permanent memorial.
The 6-foot-tall columns in the other set are waiting to be claimed and installed by those counties.
Brosche filed a bill this week that would allow the city to retrieve Duval County’s column from Alabama and install it in Hemming Park, within view of City Hall.
“This is the city’s history and it needs to be front and center in terms of us accepting our history, recognizing our history, understanding our history and making sure we educate the public,” said Brosche.
Kela Chatman brings her family to Hemming Park every week.
Kela Chatman tells me she thinks bringing a lynching memorial to #Jacksonville is important, but doesn't want it in Hemming Park. "It might be somewhat of a buzzkill," she tells me. Full story coming up at 6 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/3ZcSlU8lvS— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) June 22, 2018
Chatman said she thinks having a lynching memorial in Jacksonville is important, but she doesn’t want it in the park.
“It might be somewhat of a buzzkill, you know? If you’re hanging out here and you’re spending time with your family and you’ve got columns of people who were murdered unjustifiably hanging in a park, it would feel a little uncomfortable,” said Chatman.
Terry Lankford brought her grandchildren to play in Hemming Park on Friday.
“I could see both sides of it. It could be an issue, but also you could use it as an opportunity to educate,” said Lankford.
Brosche wants to bring the column to Jacksonville without using tax dollars. Her bill would establish a fund to accept private donations for the memorial.
The bill would also establish a 13-member committee to give the memorial context and install it in an appropriate place.
Friends of Hemming Park marketing director Damien Robinson said no one from the organization would comment on Brosche’s proposal until the board meets to discuss it.
#Jax City Council president wants to install memorial to victims of lynching in Hemming Park. The park is already home to this Confederate monument. But some people tell me they don't want a lynching memorial there. Story is coming up at 6 on @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/8HVl0pA1yo— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) June 22, 2018
Friends of Hemming Park Marketing Director Damien Robinson tells me no one from the organization would comment on #Jax city council president's proposal to install lynching memorial in park until the board meets to discuss it. Story coming up at 6 @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/lPDeBGAWwW— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) June 22, 2018
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