The Durkeeville Historical Society and city of Jacksonville collaborated to dedicate the birth site of Jacksonville’s Johnson brothers as the “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” Park. The park is named after the song written by John Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson in the late 1800s, which the NAACP calls the “Black National Anthem.”
As part of the development strategy for LaVilla, the current Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing park will be expanded and designed to celebrate James Weldon Johnson and the African-American experience. The park was designed by renowned landscape architect Walter Hood to honor the legacy of Jacksonville’s native sons, the Johnson Brothers, and will be the first of several cultural sites to be featured.
The park will invite people from all walks of life to honor this important Jacksonville native. The inspiration of the plan for the park begins with lifting upward. Historic maps and property lines of the parcel reveal new geometries in the present that are then rotated and angled to create movement within the landscape. The interplay between lifted lawn and the shotgun house placed on the parcel of the historic Johnson House articulates the past on an empty, grassy lot and creates a new resolution of singular space on the site.