Jacksonville Councilman Files Bill To Change Name Of Hemming Park

Jun 17, 2020

A Jacksonville City Councilman is introducing a bill to change the name of Hemming Park. 

Councilman Garrett Dennis filed the bill Wednesday, according to a media release. This comes a little over a week after Mayor Lenny Curry ordered the Confederate statue at the park be taken down. 

Dennis is calling for the park to be renamed after James Weldon Johnson, a Jacksonville native who was a black writer and civil rights activist in the early 20th century. 

“Not only was James Weldon Johnson born and raised in Jacksonville, he has become a historic public figure, known for his famous song, ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.’ I think this is a perfect time and way to honor Mr. Johnson, particularly at a time where everyone simply wants to lift their voices and be heard,” Dennis said in the release.

Wednesday, June 17 marks Weldon Johnson’s 149 birthday. 

Hemming park is currently named after Charles C. Hemming, who was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War.  

This comes as Curry announced all of the Confederate monuments and markers in Jacksonville will be taken down in the coming weeks.

And on Tuesday, the Duval County Public School Board unanimously voted to consider changing the names of half a dozen schools connected to confederate leaders. 

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.