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RECASTING THE PAST: From Confederate Monuments to Symbols of Peace, Featuring Dr. Andrea Douglas


Join us Friday, July 12, from 6 to 9 pm at the Jessie Jax, Downtown Jacksonville. Dr. Andrea Douglas, Executive Director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, played a pivotal role in the removal and repurposing of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue. She led the “Swords into Plowshares” initiative, which transformed the statue into ingots for new public art, symbolizing a step towards healing and inclusivity for the community. Dr. Douglas’ efforts aim to foster a more inclusive narrative and counteract historical ideologies of control and exclusion.

This is a free event, but you will need to register in advance here.


Communities nationwide are demanding the removal of memorials that glorify white supremacy from public spaces, questioning the presence of symbols that represent the oppression of Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color in a society built on democracy and equality. In Jacksonville, this movement extends to the eradication of images and names honoring Confederates, enslavers, and those involved in genocide from parks, schools, bridges, and streets.


The majority of Confederate monuments, erected in the South from 1880-1920 during the rise of Jim Crow laws, symbolize an era of Anti-Black legislation that denied voting rights and enforced segregation. In addition, the monument dedicated to the Women of the Confederacy was installed in 1915 during an era of racial terror lynching, myth-making about the Civil War, and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

The spike in monument installations in 1954, following the Supreme Court’s ruling against school segregation, reflects a racist response to the Civil Rights movement’s push for equal rights. These memorials, meant to uphold the “lost cause” narrative, were strategically placed to intimidate those striving for equity, making their removal crucial.


Answering With Truth

“The Civil War Was Not About Slavery.”

The Southern states seceded from the Union to preserve their economic system, which heavily relied on the labor of enslaved African people.

“You are trying to erase our history.”

The history many of us have learned is a distorted narrative that romanticizes slavery and emphasizes white supremacy.

“Don’t remove, just recontextualize.”

Recontextualization is a dishonest attempt to cover up a racist past. These monuments perpetuate false history and are in positions of prominence that are undeserved. It is not appropriate to memorialize the thousands of people raped, beaten, and murdered in the shadow of their oppressors.

“Why change schools, roads, bridges?”

Removing names of Confederates and those responsible for the deaths of Indigenous people doesn’t change history, but it does remove these names from places where all should feel welcome.

“Most of us alive were not part of this.”

While we can’t be blamed for historical injustices, we are all responsible for countering and dismantling the ongoing legacy of slavery, segregation, and inequity.

“Heritage is not hate.”

Southern heritage encompasses a blend of African, European, and other ethnic traditions. We can embrace our regional culture without celebrating racism and hate.

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