Jacksonville Council President Researching Confederate Monuments Before Introducing Bill

Sep 6, 2017

Hemming Park's Confederate monument was vandalized Tuesday. Its spray-painted base is covered by tarps.
Credit News4Jax

Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche said she wants to make sure she has complete information before possibly introducing a bill to move Confederate monuments and markers from public spaces to museums.

Last month, she asked the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for an inventory of Confederate monuments in Jacksonville, and she got the list last week, which includes three monuments and eight markers.

But she said she still has much more to learn before legislation is on the table.

“I don’t want there to be any issues or hang-ups or challenges along the way,” Brosche said. “I had indicated that this would be a very a measured and thoughtful process in terms of the community engaging, and indeed the community has engaged.”

She said in addition to having received more than 500 emails, she’s received many letters and calls.

Brosche said she’s working to gain a deeper understanding of the monuments’ history. And she’s also waiting for city lawyers to weigh in on if there are any possible legal issues with removing monuments from public property.

There’s also the question of where they would go. She’s proposed they be moved to educational institutions or museums.

“What does that mean and who wants them and how does that happen and what is the cost?,” she said. “There are a lot of things that need to be answered along the way before legislation gets drawn out.”

Brosche sent the list back to Parks and Rec Tuesday because she was unsure if it was complete. On Wednesday, she received confirmation it is.

“A couple of the descriptions made reference to the Union, and the title of the document said ‘Civil War,’ Brosche said. “I just wanted to make sure that which was provided was narrowed to my request.”

She said there’s no timeline for when she might introduce a bill, and she’s focusing on Hurricane Irma for the time being.

While she’s deciding, the Confederate monument in Hemming Park was defaced Tuesday evening, with “KKK” spray painted around its base.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said there’s a criminal  investigation into the defacing and called the act “disgusting.”

“That is against everything that I stand for, that the city of Jacksonville stands for,” he said.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.