PRESS RELEASE TODAY BY BLACK CITIZENS AND ORGANIZATIONS CONCERNING THE CITY OF JACKSONVILLE'S BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jacksonville’s Major African American Organizations Not Included in Planning of Jacksonville's 200th Bicentennial Anniversary.
Last year, the City of Jacksonville entered into a "partnership" with the Jacksonville Historical Society to plan for Jacksonville's 200th Anniversary celebration. But unfortunately, they decided to exclude the Black community from the planning process. So, one year later, the City and the Jacksonville Historical Society have cavalierly stated they have already planned the bicentennial anniversary, and the Black community can participate if it wishes.
Of course, the decision is the city's prerogative. However, it follows Jacksonville's traditional discourteous history toward Black people, who comprise one-third of Jacksonville's population. The City of Jacksonville can only answer why it wants to exclude the rich legacy of Jacksonville's African-American history.
Jacksonville came into existence in 1822 during a period of abject racism and slavery. In the ensuing 200 years, life in Jacksonville has ranged from Jim Crow segregation to varying levels of integration.
Organizations like the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have always stood ready to work with the City of Jacksonville and any other entity in situations of mutual respect. However, it is disrespectful as well as insulting to discover a year later that the bicentennial committee has received no meaningful input from the Black community.
Jacksonville's history has not been all "sweetness and light." No efforts should be made to exclude those historical times. History should be about honesty and truth.
Further, we understand, appreciate, and respect the rich history of the African American community in Jacksonville. Respectful of this history, we will acknowledge the contributions of the African American community by participating in various community activities surrounding the 157th anniversary of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in the State of Florida on May 20, 1865, in Tallahassee, Florida, and the celebrations surrounding the national holiday "Juneteenth" from June 18-20, 2022.
The below organizations have decided not to participate in the City of Jacksonville's bicentennial anniversary. To do so is to say we accept the wanton disrespect the city has shown for Jacksonville's Black community.
WE RESPECT OURSELVES AND OUR HISTORY.
The James Weldon Johnson Branch of the Association for the study of African American Life and History (ASALH)
The Jacksonville Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation of Jacksonville, FL
Sisters' Seat at the Table
Take'Em Down JAX
Harriett Tubman Freedom Fighters
Rodney L. Hurst, Civil Rights activist, Black Historian, and Author
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.