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In 1914, Dignan Park in Jacksonville, Florida, was renamed to Confederate Park, after around 8,000 Confederate Veterans camped in the park for the 24th annual Confederate Veterans Reunion. The United Confederate Veterans had begun planning for a memorial to honor women of the Confederacy in 1900, but did not officially begin to do so until 1909. By 1912, construction of “A Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy” was underway, and it was completed and revealed by October of 1915. The central figure of the monument is thought to be the embodiment of the “Lost Cause” movement, which portrays the Confederacy as a fight for southern pride and independence, and downplays the relevance of slavery in the war. In June of 2020, the monument was defaced with paint during national Black Lives Matter protests, leaving its future uncertain.

"A Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy" monument, completed in 1915.

"A Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy" monument, completed in 1915.

"A Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy" monument, completed in 1915.

"A Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy" monument, completed in 1915.

The seated figure is known to symbolize the "Lost Cause" movement.

The seated figure is known to symbolize the "Lost Cause" movement.

The standing female figure, wearing drapery and holding a partially unfurled flag.

The standing female figure, wearing drapery and holding a partially unfurled flag.

Plaque on the monument.

Plaque on the monument.

Plaque on the monument.

Plaque on the monument.

The monument was defaced during national Black Lives Matter protests in June of 2020.

The monument was defaced during national Black Lives Matter protests in June of 2020.

Confederate Park was opened in 1907 under the name Dignan Park, named after Peter Dignan, a chairman of the city’s Board of Public Works and a City Council member. The city purchased 20 acres of land to connect present-day Klutho Park and the Waterworks, but the name of Dignan Park was later changed after a reunion of Confederate Veterans. Renaming of the par initially began in 1900, during a reunion of the Florida Division of the United Confederate Veterans (U.C.V.) Members of the U.C.V. discussed the possibility of erecting a memorial commemorating the Women of the Confederacy until 1909, when they decided to put their plans into action. They raised $12,000 for the monument, and another $13,000 was contributed by the Florida Legislature.

In February of 1912, the U.C.V. signed a contract with the McNeel Marble Company of Marietta Georgia, to design and install the monument at a grand cost of $25,000. To create the sculptures, the group commissioned one of the nation’s most prestigious sculptors at the time, Allen Newman. He had created memorials such as the “Triumph of Peace” in Atlanta, as well as monuments for Henry Hudson in New York and General Sheridan in Pennsylvania. He also famously constructed the World War I soldier “The Doughboy,” as well as the Spanish-American War soldier “The Hiker,” both of which were reproduced in several cities across the United States. By July of 1912, a building permit was issued for the statue in then-Dignan Park, and the McNeel Marble Company began work on the rotunda.

From May 6-8, 1914, around 8,000 Confederate Veterans camped in the park for the 24th annual Confederate Veterans Reunion. By October 15 of that year, the city had commemorated the event by changing the name of the park to Confederate Park. In March of 1915, Newman shipped the bronze sculptures from New York, and they were installed by the McNeel Marble Company, marking the completion of the memorial. Its formal dedication was held during a Jacksonville parade on October 26, 1915, during which time the monument, covered by Confederate flags, was unveiled by the granddaughter of General Benjamin Partridge. There were also speeches given, including by U.S. Senator Duncan Fletcher.

The monument is around 41 by 28 by 28 feet in its totality, with the standing figure on top around 13 feet high and the seated figure inside around 42 inches. It is constructed of granite, with three granite columns supporting the roof, of which the underside has four marble panels with a bronze center medallion. The top of the monument is engraved with the memorial’s official name, “A Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy.” The female statue on top is holding a partially unfurled confederate flag, and the female statue inside the monument is seated, looking into a large book. She had her right arm around the shoulders of a standing boy, and her left around the waist of a girl who has her head on the figure’s chest. It is believed that the seated woman is the embodiment of the “Lost Cause” movement, which minimalizes the role of slavery in the Confederacy and Civil War and portrays the Confederacy as a heroic fight for independence. The monument’s inscription reads:

(Top)

1861 In Memory of the Women of Our Southland 1865

(Center)

Let this mute but eloquent

structure speak to generations

to come, of a generation of

the past. Let it repeat

perpetually the imperishable

story of our women of the 60’s.

Those noble women who

sacrificed their all

upon their country’s altar.

Unto their memory, the Florida Division

of the United Confederate Veterans

affectionately dedicates this monument.

In 2007, the Springfield Improvement Association and Woman’s Club began a restoration of the monument. Cleaning of the statues was supervised by sculptor Joe Segal, and Pedroni’s Cast Stone did a restoration of the marble and granite. However, in June of 2020, the monument was defaced during Black Lives Matter protests that spread across the nation. It was splattered with red paint and graffitied with the letters “BLM.” As many city officials have made the decision to remove controversial Confederate monuments, the future of the “Tribute to the Women of the Southern Confederacy” monument is unknown.

  1. Stroud, Mike. The Monument to Women of the Southern Confederacy, Historical Marker Database. October 9th 2020. Accessed October 10th 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=58820.
  2. Monument to Women of the Southern Confederacy, SCV Kirby Smith. January 1st 1977. Accessed October 10th 2020. https://scv-kirby-smith.org/monument-to-women-of-the-southern-confederacy/.
  3. Bortzfield, Bill. Confederate Park Has One Of Jacksonville’s Most Prominent Civil War Monuments, WJCT Public Media. June 15th 2020. Accessed October 10th 2020. https://news.wjct.org/post/confederate-park-has-one-jacksonville-s-most-prominent-civil-war-monuments.
  4. Gilmore, Tim. Springfield: Confederate Park: Monument “In Memory of Our Women of the Southland”, Jax Psycho Geo. March 24th 2018. Accessed October 10th 2020. https://jaxpsychogeo.com/north/springfield-confederate-park-monument-in-memory-of-our-women-of-the-southland/.
  5. Confederate women’s statue in Florida defaced in protests, AP News. June 6th 2020. Accessed October 10th 2020. https://apnews.com/article/9d719ec7e9760fb8f8dcb3e4effeacda.
  6. Civil War Memorials in Jax, Visit Jacksonville. Accessed October 10th 2020. https://www.visitjacksonville.com/things-to-do/culture/history/civil-war-memorials/.
  7. History of Jacksonville, FL: Confederate Park, FSCJ. Accessed October 10th 2020. https://guides.fscj.edu/c.php?g=452592&p=6147529.
Image Sources(Click to expand)

By Mike Stroud, August 19, 2012, https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=58820

https://guides.fscj.edu/c.php?g=452592&p=6147529

By Mike Stroud, August 19, 2012, https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=58820

By Mike Stroud, August 19, 2012, https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=58820

By Mike Stroud, August 19, 2012, https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=58820

By Mike Stroud, August 19, 2012, https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=58820

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/metro/2017-09-06/confederate-monuments-hemming-park-springfield-defaced-red-spray-paint