On Flag Day, Jacksonville City Council votes down removal of Confederate monument
Image via Matt Carlucci/City of Jacksonville

Carlucci confederate
The bill failed last week in committees; the full Council followed suit.

The Jacksonville City Council wrestled yet again with the city’s Confederate monument Tuesday evening, and members again decided to leave the structure standing with no immediate prospect for removal.

A resolution expressing the Council’s will to spend up to half a million dollars towards moving the Tribute to the Women of the Southland from Springfield Park failed, mirroring what happened the week before in Council committees.

Negative committee references don’t necessarily kill bills in Jacksonville. Yet despite sponsor Matt Carlucci producing drone footage showing that statue displaying the Confederate “stars and bars” battle flag, his resolution was the latest in a series of failed attempts to resolve Jacksonville’s monumental problem.

Carlucci said that the bill was about “embracing the 21st century culture of diversity and inclusion,” noting Jacksonville’s growth in the shadow of “Confederate symbols” and “Jim Crow remnants,” and the seeming lack of “political will … to deliver on promises made.”

Carlucci’s passion notwithstanding, the legislators did not “reexamine” their positions established in last week’s committees. They didn’t even speak before the bill failed by a 13-6 vote.

The resolution would have compelled a new plan for monument removal by July 26, capping the cost for monument removal at $500,000, with “alternative funding” sought to cover inevitable cost overage.

This doomed bill joins a series of attempts to remove the edifice, following up on withdrawn legislation filed last year supported by Mayor Lenny Curry.

Curry urged the Council to vote “yes or no,” but the Council did not want that vote, with specific objections to the $1.1 million price tag of removal.

However, Carlucci’s cheaper compromise also was a nonstarter.

The city began the process of monument removal two years ago, but leaders have been unable to forge consensus on a path forward.

In 2020, one Confederate tribute edifice was partially removed, at the behest of Curry, from what is now James Weldon Johnson Park, in the wake of unrest around the country spurred by the police killing of George Floyd.

An effort sponsored by Al Ferraro to put the matter of monument preservation up to a citizen referendum failed earlier this year, even after the language was amended to make the vote nonbinding.

The movement on Council is toward community conversations and a potential recontextualization of the monuments.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


8 comments

  • Contextualize

    June 14, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    Contextualation is the way to go. Lets learn from historic monuments, talk about them.

    Reply

  • Mike

    June 14, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Jax city council members who voted against are cowards and make Jacksonville a national disgrace!

    Reply

  • Jerry

    June 14, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    Democrats would rather try to erase the past rather than learn from it.

    Reply

    • Frankie M.

      June 15, 2022 at 10:50 am

      Next time you’re in Germany check out all those great public monuments to the Nazis. Score a victory for white supremacy.

      Reply

      • Antonio

        June 15, 2022 at 5:18 pm

        Well that is easy. Dachau camp is still around…Not as a concentration camp, but it is in use by the German government and it has a memorial site and a museum. Do you think the modern day Germans are being white supremacists because they haven’t tore it down? Are the people going there white supremacists? what about the non-whites that go to that museum? Are they also white supremacists?

        Reply

        • i know about Frankie M.

          June 15, 2022 at 5:58 pm

          Frankie M. is a racist

          Reply

        • Phil Morton

          June 17, 2022 at 6:12 am

          If the Jacksonville monuments were a reminder of the slaves that suffered and died in the Confederacy, I don’t think there would be a problem, but they are not. Glorifying the oppressor and forgetting the oppressed is not a good look for our city.

          Reply

          • Antonio

            June 17, 2022 at 4:20 pm

            That’s your opinion. Others have the opinion that history should not be erased. The Civil War wasn’t ONLY about slavery.

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