Springfield Park, located at 956 Hubbard Street, opened in 1907 when the city purchased the 20 acres between Main and Liberty streets to connect the grounds of what was then known as Springfield Park (now Klutho Park) and the Waterworks to create a continuous greenway running along Hogan's Creek to the St. Johns River. Originally named Dignan Park after Peter Dignan, a City Council member and chairman of the Board of Public Works who became the center of an anti-Catholic backlash when he was appointed postmaster in 1914, the site was rebranded as Confederate Park five months after the United Confederate Veterans celebrated their 24th annual reunion there May 6-9, 1914. The event drew 8,000 veterans and a total of 70,000 visitors to the city. It was not until August of 2020, after significant community outcry, that City Council finally voted to remove the reference to the Confederacy in the park's name.
Image Courtesy J. Grey, CC BY NC
Big Joe in Jacksonville, ca 1900. Image Courtesy State Archives of Florida.
For years, a ten-foot alligator named Joe made his home in Jacksonville, moving from his initial home at the Waterworks, to Dignan Park in 1913, to Hemming Park, before finally settling in the Jacksonville Zoo in 1915. Read more about Joe's life and travels (and whether there was more than one Joe) in this Call Box response from November 4, 2018's Florida Times-Union. You will need to log in to see this content.
Confederate Park is just one of the many parks in within Jacksonville's Parks and Recreation Department. According to their website, the City of Jacksonville maintains "over 300 public and recreational spaces." Visit the CIty of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department website for searchable maps and lists of all public parks in the City.
Film was produced with titles and shows meeting of 40,000 Confederate war veterans in Jacksonville. Repository: State Library and Archives of Florida, 500 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250 USA. Contact: 850.245.6700. Archives@dos.state.fl.us Persistent URL: http://www.floridamemory.com/items/sh...
The Lost Cause of the Confederacy is a concept that presents the American Civil War (1861–1865) as an honorable struggle in which the South fought heroically for the purpose of states' rights and Southern culture. Most modern historians discount the Lost Cause as an attempt to downplay the role of slavery as a root cause of the war.
Read a brief overview of the "Lost Cause" concept here. (You must be logged into your library account to access this content.)
Image: "Civil War veteran Thomas Benjamin Amiss in U.C.V. uniform with medals holding young girl with Confederate flag," from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
Over the last few years, and particularly since the deadly 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA, there has been an increasing amount of discussion over the appropriateness of monuments to the Confederacy on public lands, colleges, and universities. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are calling for the removal of these monuments, or for the addition of contextual signage. While a 2017 Reuters poll shows that a majority of Americans want confederate monuments to remain, a new poll by Winthrop University shows that a majority of Southern state residents want to do something about the monuments—move, remove, or add new signage. Here in Jacksonville, community groups including TakeEmDownJax recently offered a "History Revealed" walking tour of Jacksonville's racial past. Their goal was to raise awareness of the issue and gain support for removal of local monuments. The President of the Jacksonville City Council also called for the removal of the monuments from city property. In March, 2019, community activists called for an economic boycott of the City until the monuments are removed. According to a 2017 Florida Times Union article, Jacksonville residents are divided on the issue with approximately 53% of voters opposing removal and 38% in favor. The controversy is likely to continue.