Donna Deegan says Tallahassee ‘threat’ won’t force decision on Jacksonville confederate monument removal
Image via City of Jacksonville

Donna Deegan
The Jim Crow edifice presents a 'thorny political issue' for the City Council, however, so she advises patience.

Jacksonville’s Democratic Mayor says she won’t be moved by an “unconstitutional” proposal to stop Florida cities from removing monuments to the Civil War.

“We’re going to continue to look at every option out there, but at the end of the day, I cannot be moved one way or the other by threat of what might happen in the Legislature,” Donna Deegan said on WJCT’s “First Coast Connect.”

“You know, I am hopeful that at some point, we get to a place with Council where we can come to a resolution here. But I can’t let threats from legislation that I frankly think is unconstitutional on its face have any impact on if and when we act on these things.”

Jacksonville’s “Women of the Southland” monument was erected in the formerly-named Confederate Park during the height of Jim Crow era historical revisionism, and it is the remaining major flashpoint of removal efforts.

The Mayor’s position has new urgency in the wake of the filing of HB 395, filed by Rep. Dean Black of Jacksonville. The bill proposes state “protection of historical monuments and memorials” and authorizes “all actions to protect and preserve all historical monuments and memorials from removal, damage, or destruction.”

The bill would punish local lawmakers and officials who voted to remove such memorials, authorizing a fine of the costs of replacing or repairing the memorial out of their personal wealth for removal actions. It would also give Gov. Ron DeSantis the power to remove elected leaders from local office from the time the bill takes effect.

Deegan, who previously said the Black bill was “clearly aimed” at her administration, noted that monument removal was a “thorny political issue” for many on Council.

She also noted that many of her supporters thought she would “flip a switch and everything was going to be, you know, different and exactly as I envisioned and want it to be, that’s not how it works, you know.”

“We all have to work together to get to a place and people are very clear on where I stand on this issue. But we’ve got to work together to get to a place, and I think that there are so many issues in our city that are going to require that, that collaborative work,” Deegan said. “I would ask folks to be patient and know that I am being very intentional in this process and will continue.”

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


24 comments

  • MH/Duuuval

    December 13, 2023 at 11:14 am

    The middle path: Declare the statue surplus and put out for bid to be removed. This has been done successfully elsewhere and doesn’t require a lot of tax dollars.

  • The Truth

    December 13, 2023 at 11:24 am

    The people do not want the historical monument removed. It was put up to honor the WOMEN, who took care of their families while the men were gone, just like the WOMEN, at NAS do today. Leave it alone, or face the consequences of removing it. I got an idea, let the citizens vote on it, Donna.

    • rick whitaker

      December 13, 2023 at 11:33 am

      the truth, you new confederacy people, are not the majority, you are just louder than everyone else. sounds like you have no clue how your racism shows to everyone else .

      • The Truth

        December 14, 2023 at 4:41 am

        I wonder why, in every place where a monument has been taken down, they do not let the people vote on it,, why Rick, is it because the majority of the CITIZENS, do not want historical monuments removed??????

        • Rick Whitaker

          December 16, 2023 at 4:44 pm

          truth, wrong, have you ever been right. you do not know what voters want. you make stupid comments like you know; you don’t know. when mostly gop states refuse to put issues up for referendum, it’s because they don’t want the majority to have a say. all of the confederate statues were removed from washington dc by a congressional vote of 285 for removal and 120 opposed to removal. that’s a vote where removal won by over a 2 to 1 margin. that’s a fact, look it up. you are a fool, face it. i’ve noticed that everything you say is a lie and you call yourself the truth, how maga cultist of you.

    • MH/Duuuval

      December 13, 2023 at 11:52 am

      Put your money together and make an offer for the statue. Regardless of the way you rationalize it, it still primarily represents enslavement — perpetual and based on color with a record of daily physical and sexual abuses by whites.

    • MH/Duuuval

      December 13, 2023 at 11:54 am

      And, for the record, Navy wives today do not own chattel property nor do their spouses have ready access to enslaved women.

      • Bob

        December 13, 2023 at 2:36 pm

        For the Record as You Say. Neither did the Majority of Confederate Soldiers.

        • rick whitaker

          December 13, 2023 at 2:56 pm

          bob, many of the men who were drafted into the vietnam war didn’t want to fight and didn’t believe in the reasons of the war, went to canada. so the southern men that didn’t want to be terrorist’ and seditionist’, could have traveled to the north. i was drafted and forced to go to war, and i am still considered a vietnam war veteran, even though i disagreed with the reasons for the war. southern soldiers regardless if they were plantation owners or believed in slavery, could have moved to the north. i live in east tennessee where lots of the war battles were fought and my city changed hands 3 or more times. those people that lived in my town only had to go a few miles to no be a confederate terrorist. so what’s your point?

          • Richard Russell

            December 13, 2023 at 5:37 pm

            You poor baby. I am a Buccaneer from ETSU and I volunteered as my ancestors did for over 250 years before, to serve my country. Unfortunately we were sold a bunch of lies by one of your fellow dirtbag politicians (LBJ). Today your brain dead Democrap President is more concerned with Ukraine than he is with our own National Security (our southern border) and he is more concerned with recruiting she/men and trans into our military because real men are not falling for his bullshit.

          • My Take

            December 24, 2023 at 8:59 pm

            I think tiny isolated Cades Cove was ag times Confederatre in sympathy on one side and Union on the other.

        • MH/Duuuval

          December 13, 2023 at 3:44 pm

          Re: Bob
          Historians estimate about one-quarter of all Southerners had any involvement with African enslavement. The governments of the South were controlled by the tiny class of large slaveholders who were quick to secede after Lincoln was elected President.

          I await your comment as to why the remaining 3/4 of Southerners went along with secession and etc.

          I agree with the comment from RW that the Vietnam War was analogous — most young men seemed to have gone along because of the law. Others –usually better off financially — did what DJT did and claimed a spurious injury made them unable to go to war.

          In the Civil War, Southerners who held large numbers of enslaved were not drafted and anyone could hire a substitute.

    • Free Florida

      December 14, 2023 at 1:57 pm

      Amen!

      • Free Florida

        December 14, 2023 at 2:02 pm

        Leave our history alone.

      • Rick Whitaker

        December 16, 2023 at 4:14 pm

        free florida, isn’t amen what the kkk said at the end of their meetings and before they burned down houses and lynched people? you christian scum are hardheaded racist and haters. wrap yourselves in the confederate flag and wave the bible , that don’t make you good people. white christian nationalist are our country’s biggest problem, NOT the border. your history as you call it is the story of losers and terrorist’.

  • Dont Say FLA

    December 13, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Maybe send all the remaining Confederate minded folks to education camps (aka normal schools) and get them edumacated such that they will stop worrying about monuments to losers.

  • SteveHC

    December 13, 2023 at 1:04 pm

    The point here is that there is a LIMIT to the extent that citizens are willing to give up their local governance to State control. Period. It’s as simple as that. A balance based on rational thought and general fairness needs to be struck, not based on threats from political possessors of irrelevant “cultural” ideology.

  • rick whitaker

    December 13, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    don’t say fla, great comment, thanks

  • Richard Russell

    December 13, 2023 at 5:27 pm

    Like it or not, tearing down statues is so lame. Mayor you must be a sorry cry baby if that is what will make you happy. Poor baby!

    • MH/Duuuval

      December 13, 2023 at 9:23 pm

      LBJ did much for the domestic side but totally screwed up in Southeast Asia.

      There’s a minimal threat of terrorism at any US border, north or south. The drugs are coming in the ports and official entrance points on the roads.

      Ukraine has proffered to resist the tyranny Putin wants to impose. This is a threat to us only insofar as you believe Putin is capable of being appeased. None of the 20th-century dictators — Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Stalin — could not be appeased.

      • MH/Duuuval

        December 13, 2023 at 9:24 pm

        could be appeased — pardon the failed double negative

  • Rose

    December 14, 2023 at 10:20 am

    So many comments on both sides. why must we as people that think to remove HISTORY will change anything. It’s things that happened and we should learn about and NOT REPEAT such things. Money that goes into this removal could certainly be used for other more important things in the city. No MAYOR should have authority to remove HISTORY from the city or elsewhere. These things happen, we NEED to LEARN about it, from it and move on. I could cry wolf too, but what will it accomplish? All this mess is just creating chaos and money NOT WELL SPENT. Let it go!

  • Hypocrisy

    December 14, 2023 at 11:24 am

    How shameful when we find ourselves feeling the need to stir up a riot by “addressing” marquee issues like this one. If we removed every Confederate monument in Jacksonville, would it change the longstanding history of racial inequities and racial disparities that have plagued the city’s black citizens for generations?

    Donna Deegan’s administration has, itself, engaged in the mistreatment of several members of the Black community. For example, it’s interesting how her administration finds it acceptable to throw the black man who is CEO of the Housing Authority under the bus when the city has historically underinvested in the agency–$70,000 for a city with 1 million people!

    The only thing aiding that agency is Federal dollars yet it’s somehow convenient to put this on the black man leading the agency? Are you serious? Major fail! Try again!

    Another example is how the number two person in the Neighborhoods Department is a Black woman. However, she was initially passed over for the top job, and now that high school diploma toting Al Ferraro is out of the position, the Mayor has assigned a white woman to lead the Department on a temporary basis still overlooking the Black woman who is second-in-command? Oh, okay!

    And would you look at Al Ferraro taking over Blight Initiatives from The Late E. Denise Lee. So, you’re going to allow Ferraro full access to destroy homes in predominantly Black neighborhoods. Way to go, Donna!

    I hope the Black community wakes up and smells the roses. This administration gets an “F” in the quest for diversity that matters.

    • George

      December 14, 2023 at 11:28 am

      This comment!!!!!
      Not to mention how she had a whole news conference to outline her promotions of several Black firefighters and paramedics into leadership roles. I guess she had to somehow take the attention off the fact that she was not going to give us a Black Fire Chief. Her administration is filled with liberal elitists.

Comments are closed.


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