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One City, Many Stories

What’s happening at the Jacksonville Historical Society?

A viral pandemic is going on, but it has not affected Jacksonville’s appetite to better understand its past. At the Jacksonville Historical Society we know better than anyone that our city has a million stories. Preserving and sharing them is part of our mission, and it is steady work.

In the months ahead, the JHS will be working with the Mayor’s Office to help evaluate Jacksonville’s monuments and markers on City property that relate to the Civil War Confederacy. There is a difference between memorials and markers, and the way they represent the past. Historic site markers are generally placed in order to identify places where significant events took place, and where their narrative is factually correct, those should remain undisturbed. Over the nine decades of its existence, the Jacksonville Historical Society has placed numerous historic site markers throughout Jacksonville, and we expect to continue that part of our work where appropriate.

Markers for the Maple Leaf are likely not on the table for removal as they identify places where significant events took place, and where their narrative is factually correct.

Speaking of historic sites, the office of Congressman Al Lawson has initiated an application to the National Park Service to list Hemming Park on the National Register of Historic Places. This is to recognize and commemorate the events of Ax Handle Saturday, a violent clash between civil rights demonstrators and white counter-demonstrators that took place in and around Hemming Park 60 years ago, in August 1960. We have been pleased to help the Congressman’s staff with background information on the historic site marker placed there by the Jacksonville Historical Society to commemorate the site of that climactic moment in the struggle for civil rights in Jacksonville.

February 23, 2017, the Jacksonville Historical Society presented “Civil Rights Struggles, from the Beach to the Courthouse,” to a packed house at Old St. Andrew’s Church.

Want to know more about the work of the Jacksonville Historical Society? Become a member and you’ll receive a monthly e-newsletter filled with information like that which you’ve just read.

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