Independent broadcast television station WJXT in Jacksonville reported yesterday on an upcoming 40-mile march beginning in Jacksonville on May 15 and concluding in Constitution Plaza in St Augustine on May 17, 2018. According to the story, the purpose of the “March for Change” is to show solidarity between a few Jacksonville protest groups calling for the removal of Confederate monuments.
The report filed by anchor Kent Justice, names these groups:
- New Florida Majority
- Jacksonville Progressive Coalition
- The Black Commission
- Take ‘Em Down Jax, The Northside Coalition
The groups said the walk will focus specifically on removing four monuments, two in Jacksonville and two in St. Augustine, including:
- Monument to Women of the Confederacy
- Florida Confederate Soldiers Memorial
- The William Wing Loring Memorial
- St Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument
Jacksonville Progressive Coalition spokesman Wells Todd was quoted in the article saying, “This is a march to tell the story about racism, the racism these monuments actually represent. We’re talking about white privilege. We’re talking about white supremacy. We’re talking about the terror of the Ku Klux Klan.”
“People who think that statues should stay up don’t understand the real history of the United States,” Todd concluded. He may be right. However, Historic City News reporters DO know that the St Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument, honors the contributions of over 100 mostly black citizens in St Augustine who advanced the cause of civil rights in the city in 1963 and 1964, many at great personal cost.
Organizers made their announcement during a news conference Tuesday afternoon outside City Hall in downtown Jacksonville. “We’re here to say we’re going to walk from that statue to the statue in St. Augustine that’s in a place where they used to sell slaves.”
Two factual problems. First, St Augustine has no Confederate statues. We have two obelisk memorials but no statues. Second, there are no records that confirm the romanticized “sightseeing version” of the authentic history of the market building in the Plaza, including the sale of slaves.