Committee votes on new park names - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Committee votes on new park names

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The City of Memphis recently covered the Jefferson Davis Park sign with this poster. The City of Memphis recently covered the Jefferson Davis Park sign with this poster.

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis Parks Naming Committee met for the last time Monday at City Hall.

The nine member ad-hoc committee was asked to vote on potential park names for three Confederate-themed city parks: Confederate, Jefferson Davis, Nathan Bedford Forrest parks.

The most controversial renaming was changing Nathan Bedford Forrest Parks to Civil War Memorial Park.

The Sons of Confederates are extremely unhappy about this.

"The general is buried there. He is a tribute to Memphis and the entire south and entire world. It should have stayed Forrest Park," said Lee Millar with the Sons of Confederate.

The council attorney said the city has the right to change the names, and move Forrest's body to Elmwood Forrest where the general wanted to be buried with his troops.

The recommended name for Confederate Park is Promenade Park, and Jefferson Davis Park would be Harbor Park.

Late last week, a new twist surfaced in the parks renaming controversy.

Following the death of civil right icon Maxine Smith Friday, Congressman Steve Cohen proposed naming one of the parks in Smith's honor. Mayor A C Wharton said he would consider using his executive power to get it done.

"I'll be glad to work with the council committee or to go ahead and do it on my own. I feel that strongly about it," Wharton said in a news conference on Smith's passing.

That recommendation to name Jefferson Davis Park after civil rights icon Maxine Smith failed, only Pastor Keith Norman said "yes" to the proposal

Parks Naming Committee Members:

  • Councilman Bill Boyd, Co-Chair
  • Councilman Harold Collins, Co-Chair
  • Larry Smith, City of Memphis Parks Deputy Director
  • Rev. Keith Norman, Sr.
  • Dr. Beverly Bond, University of Memphis History Dept.
  • Dr, Douglass Cupples, University of Memphis History Dept. Professor
  • Becky Muska, Millington, TN
  • Michael Robinson, LeMoyne Owen College Assistant Professor of Social Work
  • Jimmy Ogle, Shelby County Historical Commission President

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