Trump’s Convention Speech Falls On Infamous Day In Jacksonville’s Racial History
According to the Miami Herald, the last day of the 2020 Republican National Convention, which will now be held in Jacksonville, will fall on the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday, a 1960 attack on Black lunch-counter protesters.
- President Trump decided to move the convention’s host location from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, since North Carolina’s officials were “unable to guarantee full attendance in the Arena” due to concerns about coronavirus.
- Trump lashed out at North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper (D), saying it is unfortunate that Cooper is “still in Shutdown mood.”
- The Miami Herald wrote that The Republican National Committee (RNC) will be “awarding the city a political party that could attract thousands of Republican activists and press from around the world during a pandemic and civil unrest.”
- In addition, the report added that “Trump’s decision to move to Jacksonville means he’ll accept his party’s nomination from a swing state, possibly with the kind of crowds that North Carolina’s Democratic governor wouldn’t promise to allow.”
“Donald Trump abandoned North Carolina because he wants it to look like the threat of the coronavirus is over when he gives his big televised speech,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said Thursday night in a statement. “Unfortunately, optics are not a public health strategy, nor are they a good re-election strategy.”
- A website set up by the Jacksonville Host Committee listed the dates of the convention as August 24-27.
- The last day of the convention, August 27th, is the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday, a 1960 attack on Black protesters seen as a “tipping point in Jacksonville’s civil rights history and race relations,” the Miami Herald reported.
- Rodney Hurst Sr., an activist and black historian who helped lead the protests at a lunch counter that day through his role on the Jacksonville NAACP’s youth council, stated in an interview that a commemoration of the event is planned for August 27th in Hemming Park, “where a white mob wielding ax handles gathered before pouncing on peaceful black protesters.”
- According to the Miami Herald, Hurst wondered if the “timing of Trump’s visit is coincidence given that the president intends to resume large political rallies beginning June 19,” which is the day commemorating the end of slavery in the US, in Tulsa, a city where white mobs attacked black families in a deadly riot 99 years ago.
- Following the RNC’s decision to settle on Jacksonville for its convention site, Republican Mayor Lenny Curry “ordered city crews to take down a Confederate statue downtown before pledging to a crowd of peaceful protesters that all remaining Confederate statues in the city would also be removed.”
Hurst said Trump’s visit is irrelevant to Jacksonville’s ongoing civil rights movement: “Donald Trump coming to town — America’s racist president — won’t change anything that we’re going to do.”