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Rodney L. Hurst Sr. speaks at the commemoration Aug. 27. Hurst was the 16-year-old president of the NAACP Youth Council and demonstrator who had to flee for his life on Ax Handle Saturday. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Civil rights leaders say ‘uncomfortable conversations’ on racism still needed

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Rodney L. Hurst Sr. speaks at the commemoration Aug. 27. Hurst was the 16-year-old president of the NAACP Youth Council and demonstrator who had to flee for his life on Ax Handle Saturday. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Jacksonville City Council members Sam Newby and Brenda Priestly Jackson attend the event. Brenda Priestly is a niece of Hurst. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Jacksonville City Council members Sam Newby and Brenda Priestly Jackson attend the event. Brenda Priestly is a niece of Hurst. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Attendees bow their heads in prayer at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday at noon Aug. 27 at James Weldon Johnson Park Downtown. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Attendees bow their heads in prayer at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday at noon Aug. 27 at James Weldon Johnson Park Downtown. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Rodney Hurst Sr. wipes his brow in the heat of the noon ceremony. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Rodney Hurst Sr. wipes his brow in the heat of the noon ceremony. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

"Today we celebrate the changing of the name of this park from a Confederate, treasonous, anarchist to one of Jacksonville’s favorite native sons, James Weldon Johnson,” Hurst said.  (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

"Today we celebrate the changing of the name of this park from a Confederate, treasonous, anarchist to one of Jacksonville’s favorite native sons, James Weldon Johnson,” Hurst said.  (Photo by Katie Garwood)

The event was in-person and live-streamed on social media. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

The event was in-person and live-streamed on social media. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Nearly 100 activists, guests, allies and community leaders gathered in James Weldon Johnson Park Downtown for the event. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Nearly 100 activists, guests, allies and community leaders gathered in James Weldon Johnson Park Downtown for the event. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

City Council President Tommy Hazouri addressed the crowd in a prerecorded message. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

City Council President Tommy Hazouri addressed the crowd in a prerecorded message. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

City Council Vice President Sam Newby addresses the audience. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

City Council Vice President Sam Newby addresses the audience. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

City Council member Brenda Priestly Jackson, a niece of Hurst, speaks at the commemoration. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

City Council member Brenda Priestly Jackson, a niece of Hurst, speaks at the commemoration. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Audience members listen to Brenda Priestly Jackson's speech. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Audience members listen to Brenda Priestly Jackson's speech. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Many in the audience took photos, videos or live streamed the event. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Many in the audience took photos, videos or live streamed the event. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Rodney Hurst Sr. addresses the crowd. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Rodney Hurst Sr. addresses the crowd. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Jacksonville resident Keedron Bryant, 13, sings his song “I JUST WANNA LIVE.” The original May 26 performance of the song garnered 4 million views on his Instagram page. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Jacksonville resident Keedron Bryant, 13, sings his song “I JUST WANNA LIVE.” The original May 26 performance of the song garnered 4 million views on his Instagram page. (Photo by Katie Garwood)

Images from the 1960s lunch counter sit-ins are projected on a screen behind Rodney L. Hurst Sr. as he speaks. (Photo by Mike Mendenhall_

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Images from the 1960s lunch counter sit-ins are projected on a screen behind Rodney L. Hurst Sr. as he speaks. (Photo by Mike Mendenhall_

Members of the audience watch the event unfold at James Weldon Johnson Park Downtown. (Photo by Mike Mendenhall)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 |

Members of the audience watch the event unfold at James Weldon Johnson Park Downtown. (Photo by Mike Mendenhall)

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