Posted on December 28, 2023

Confederate Monument Removed From Springfield Park on Mayor’s Order

Ashley Harding et al., WJXT, December 27, 2023

Before first light on Wednesday, construction crews began the process of removing a Confederate statue in Springfield Park that has long been the subject of debate in Jacksonville. By 11 a.m., the monument had been taken down.

Following a similar process undertaken in 2020 to remove a Confederate statue from what was then known as Hemming Park outside City Hall, crews staged overnight and before sunrise began the work of taking down the monument.

During Mayor Donna Deegan’s candidacy, she said she would support the removal of Confederate monuments. On Wednesday, she released a statement about the Springfield Park monument’s removal:

“This is not in any way an attempt to erase history but to show that we’ve learned from it — that when we know better, we do better by and for each other,” Deegan said. “My prayer today is for our beautiful city to continue embracing unity and bending the arc of history toward justice. Let’s keep lifting as we climb.”

The statement from the Mayor’s Office said the Springfield Park memorial was erected during the peak of early 20th-century Confederate monument-building, part of a widespread campaign to promote and justify Jim Crow laws in the South and intimidate African Americans.

“Symbols matter. They tell the world what we stand for and what we aspire to be,” Deegan said in the statement. “By removing the Confederate monument from Springfield Park, we signal a belief in our shared humanity. That we are all created equal. The same flesh and bones. The same blood running through our veins. The same heart and soul.”

Previously called Confederate Park, Springfield Park was renamed in 2020, not long after the Confederate statue was removed overnight from what was then Hemming Park outside City Hall. That park has since been renamed James Weldon Johnson Park.

The pedestal for the monument in James Weldon Johnson Park wasn’t removed until May of this year, and the monument was recently returned to the Hemming family, as the city promised when it was removed.

It’s unclear what will be done with the Springfield Park monument after it is removed.


Deegan explained that the large statue within the monument and the smaller statue on top are being removed with funding made available through a grant that the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and anonymous donors made to 904WARD. The plaque is also being removed and engravings of the pedestal will be covered with temporary plaques.

The cost of this work is $187,000 in an agreement between 904WARD and ACON Construction, the Mayor’s Office said.

“An inclusive community begins with a commitment to fostering unity, inclusivity, and social progress,” 904WARD said in a statement. “Confederate monuments, often erected during periods of racial tension and division, serve as painful reminders of a divisive past and contribute to a climate that perpetuates inequality. 904WARD is committed to our vision of an end to racism in Jacksonville so that all people can thrive. Today, because of partners like the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and Mayor Deegan and her industrious effort to create a Jacksonville that everyone can call home, we are one step closer to our goal.”


Local activist groups in favor of removing the monuments have been focused heavily on the Springfield Park monument since the one outside City Hall was removed. But supporters of keeping Confederate monuments have argued just as strongly to leave it where it is.

Pat Geer told News4JAX on Wednesday that watching the removal made him angry.

“In Tallahassee, there’s legislation going through there, and I hope they’re going to put that thing back because they’re not supposed to take them down and there will be Florida legislation to stop that in the future,” Geer said. “You haven’t heard the last of the other side, even though I’m the minority here. I felt compelled — I needed to come out here and be a part of this.”

Geer was referring to a proposal in the Florida State Legislature that would punish lawmakers who vote to take down these monuments. It has not been passed yet.