The 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday is upon us, and while much has changed in Jacksonville and the United States, much has not. Anniversaries enjoin us to reflect on what we might do to tackle those things that still remain to be changed.

Then, as now, we are struck by the stories of people who acted with uncommon bravery and integrity–in this case the NAACP Youth Council members who as teenagers, boldly sat at the Woolworth’s lunch counter to peacefully protest for a better future. That they did so despite knowing they might be met by hatred and brutality invests in us a deep responsibility to continue their work. It will take all of us to build a more inclusive city. At the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, we are examining how we might work to eliminate the many structural barriers that still exist, to support a system of justice that is truly blind, and to create opportunity for historically excluded members of our society.

We deeply appreciate the work being done to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday and to establish a Civil Rights conference here in Jacksonville. We encourage everyone in the community to take part in Thursday’s virtual event by visiting

Written by
Mari Kuraishi