Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton released the following statement during his press conference Wednesday regarding the issue of renaming Memphis city parks:
I AM SPEAKING TODAY AS WILLIE HERENTON, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS AND NOT AS WILLIE HERENTON, PRIVATE CITIZEN OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN DESCENT.
IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE TRAGIC ASSASSINATION OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. IN OUR CITY, WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER EVENT THAT PORTRAYS MEMPHIS NATIONALLY AS A CITY STILL RACIALLY POLARIZED AND FIGHTING THE CIVIL WAR ALL OVER AGAIN.
IT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS THAT THIS ISSUE IS ADDRESSED CAREFULLY AND RESPECTFULLY OF DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES.
WE HAVE A NATIONAL IMAGE THAT MUST BE PROTECTED. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN WE SUCCUMB TO THE PRESSURES OF THE VARIOUS INTEREST GROUPS.