• Jacksonville City Council president wants lynching memorial in Hemming Park

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche wants to use private money to install a lynching memorial downtown in Hemming Park.

    The memorial would commemorate seven African-Americans who were lynched in Duval County.

    Hemming Park is already home to a Confederate monument.

    RELATED STORY: St. Augustine City Commission to add context to Confederate memorial

    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.

    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.

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