By Kionta Brooks
The Durkeeville Historical Society, along with the City of Jacksonville honored the late James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson with an unveiling ceremony for the new Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park a the corner of Houston and Lee Streets.
The Johnson brothers are natives of Jacksonville and composed the famous, negro national anthem, adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. The RSVP Ritz Chamber singers sang the famous anthem as the ceremony opened.
During the ground-breaking ceremony, prominent community figures spoke about the purpose of the dedication service. Former City Council member Rodney Hurst was the emcee for the ceremony. As requested, Mayor Alvin Brown and City Council District 9 Warren Jones gave thanks to the organizations that pledged to help preserve the park and its importance.
City Planner also Lisa Ransom gave background history into the life of the Johnsons. She explained the sight of the park is also the land that James Weldon Johnson built a home. The park is located next to the Prime Osborn Convention Center SkyWay stop and labeled with three plagues.
The plagues were revealed after the ceremony ended and serve as a historical marker for tourists and visitors to the great city of Jacksonville. KB Photo