The Memphis City Council has finally taken positive steps to resolve the issue of renaming three Confederate themed parks. Yesterday, the Council appointed a seven member committee to look into the issue of renaming Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, and Forrest Park, named after General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Channel 5 News reported that General Forrest was the “original” Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, which only adds to the misinformation that the City Council, and the community as a whole, is receiving.
One of the members of the new committee is Jimmy Ogle, who was the previous deputy parks director, and is currently the chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission.
“I think we need to be objective about it,” said Ogle. “I think if we can give (City Council members) some solid information, and maybe dispel some of these myths or some of this misinformation out there, that would be helpful.”
Along with Ogle, other members of the committee include Councilmen Bill Boyd and Harold Collins, NAACP president Rev. Keith Norman, Memphis city parks official Larry Smith, and professors Michael Robinson and Dr. Douglas Cupples.
Councilman Bill Boyd was quoted as saying, “This is a good representative assembly of Memphians who are capable of providing a reasonable solution for recommendation to the Memphis City Council.” It is interesting that no women were chosen to serve on the committee, however.
“Things seem to be spiraling downward on this, rather than leveling off and taking a common sense approach to it,” said Ogle. Perhaps the committee can accomplish a positive outcome for everyone involved. Let’s hope so.