UNF discusses local Confederate monuments

Alexandra Torres-Perez, Managing Editor

After the Charlottesville incident in August, a panel of UNF professors from several departments came together with students to discuss whether the Confederate monuments in Jacksonville should be removed.

The panel was composed of ProfessorsKeith Cartwright, Rosa De Jorio, Brandi Denison, and the Assistant Director of Student Affairs Bill Delaney.

Jacksonville is home to several Civil War monuments of both Union and Confederate soldiers. However, the number of memorials for Confederate soldiers greatly outnumbers those of Unionists. 

This map shows all the Confederate monuments in Jacksonville. It also includes the names of different schools and parks named after Confederate soldiers. It was created by one of the panelists, Bill Delaney.

“I’m damned tired of the divisive discourse,” Cartwright said. “It’s not about Jacksonville losing our history, but gaining a community…These monuments remind black people that they are socially excluded. It’s a ‘F**k you’ to half of the population.”

For that reason, people across the United States believe these statutes should be removed. For some, these Confederate monuments serve as a reminder of a horrible past of slavery and oppression. However, some disagree saying removing these monuments would be destroying our history.

Sophomore student Keri Stottsberry agrees with keeping the monuments in Jacksonville since they give the city some sort of identity.

“It’s important to have something to be proud of,” Stottsberry said. “They were put up because there was some sort of pride, so we shouldn’t take that away.”

Delaney believes that these monuments glorify a dark time in history.

“These monuments romanticized the Confederacy and its cause,” Delaney said. 

After each panelist gave their presentation on the issue, faculty and students were allowed to ask them questions. This is when the conversation turned away from the Confederate monuments and more towards Jacksonville’s identity as a city.

Professor Rosa De Jorio gave students a global perspective on the issue. Photo by Alexandra Torres-Perez

“A homeless person in Detroit has more mojo than a millionaire in Jacksonville,” UNF professor Priscilla Berry said. “Jacksonville has no identity and no sense of urgency for anything.”

Students like Anuhya Yedanaparthi, who is originally from India, agreed with Berry. She went around Jacksonville to learn more about the history, but found the museums and monuments in Jacksonville were not educational enough.

Yedanaparthi believes Jacksonville should keep the Confederate monuments since they bring value and an identity to Jacksonville.

“It shows what America used to be, and what Jacksonville used to be,” Yedanaparthi said. “It’s something to show to those new people.”

Even if the monuments were taken down, De Jorio stated it would not solve the main issue of the cultural memory created by the monuments.

“There is an ideal vision of us being one nation, but the Confederate monuments shows us that we are not one,” Denison said.

A counter-narrative needs to be created to resolve the issue, according to De Jorio. This can be done by creating monuments that commemorate the war like the Vietnam War Memorial.

College campuses like UNF may be the perfect place to begin that narrative.


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