What’s In a Name?
Apparently, the city of Memphis, Tennessee is about to succeed in changing the names of three Confederate themed parks. According to a recent issue of the Sons of Confederate Veterans #1452 newsletter, the newly designated “Parks Renaming Committee” has decided that Forrest Park (named after Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest) will be renamed “Civil War Memorial Park.” I guess this is better than what they had originally wanted to rename it, which was “Health Sciences Park.” The City Council has agreed to leave the graves of Forrest, his wife, and his grandson, as well as the statue of Forrest on his steed, in the park. Jefferson Davis Park will soon become “Harbor Park,” instead of the original idea of renaming it “Mississippi River Park,” and Confederate Park will be renamed “Promenade Park” instead of the original name change suggestion of “Memphis Park.” The city might even go as far as to post signs in the parks in regard to the history surrounding them.
“I think it allows the city to heal a little bit,” Councilman Harold Collins said. “Everybody gets a little what they want.”
“Renaming these parks has no purpose,” Citizens to Save Our Parks President Mark Buchanan said. “It doesn’t solve anything in the city. Crime is still in the city. Taxes are still high.”
Another idea that failed was renaming a park after Civil Rights leader Maxine Smith. Pastor Keith Norman made a motion to rename JeffersonDavisPark after her, but in a 7 to 1 vote the motion failed.
Mayor A C Wharton said that he wanted one of the parks to be named after Smith. “If it’s necessary, I’ll just go ahead and do it on my own,” he said. “I feel that strongly about it.”
The park names debate now heads back to City Council, but no date has been set as to when Council members will meet on this issue.