Middleburg residents speak out about controversial signs posted on intersection

Two racially charged signs displayed at a busy Middleburg intersection during the July fourth holiday are drawing the attention of local residents and even the Clay County sheriff.

Action News Jax spoke with community members about the signs, and they had differing opinions.


[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

Those signs were posted at the intersection of Blanding Boulevard and 218.

One says, “Honk if you want Middleburg to go back to its former name of Whitesville.”

The other says “every signature on the declaration belongs to a white man. People I spoke with in clay county today had strong reactions to those signs.”

Action News Jax spoke with one resident about these signs.

“I think it’s a crock of bull,” says Walter Miller.

Miller says he’s confused.

“There is Whitesville all over the south, so why does Middleburg need to be Whitesville again,” says Miller.

REPORT: Jax ranks second-worst in nation for small businesses impacted by supply chain crisis

Miller, who lives in the area, says that sign was pointless

“Who cares? It’s 13 people who knew what we wanted and that’s what we got today,” says Miller.

Miller acknowledges signs like those can be posted in public places thanks to our freedom of speech.

We also spoke with Leroy Edwards, a resident running for a county commission seat.

He says he views the signs somewhat differently.

“With that comment, it is a racist comment. You have to call a spade a spade,” says Edwards.

Edwards adds he too believes in the freedom of speech but finds those words displayed here offensive.

“This country is not the way it used to be. It’s never going to go back to where it used to be. But there are people who still arbor those ideas in their mind,” says Edwards.

Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook even weighed in about the signs on her Facebook page.

“Several people have reached out regarding the people at 218 and Blanding and their signs. Although I do not agree with their statements, the constitution of our great nation guarantees their right to free speech. My official response to their message—bless their hearts southern folks know exactly what I’m saying. God bless America, y’all have a safe 4th,” her post read.

We did reach out to Sheriff Cook to talk more about the signs, but she has not gotten back to us.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.