Who Will Decide New Names Of Memphis Parks?
(Memphis) The Memphis City Council is moving forward with plans to rename three parks after stripping names with Confederate ties.
A board made up of a cross-section of the community will decide on the new names, but there is no timetable set up to get that done.
Memphis City councilman Myron Lowery says the vote to temporarily rename the Forrest Park, Jefferson Davis Park, and Confederate Park was a strategic move.
“The state did not rush the process. What they did was they forced us to make a temporary change for as long as we want it to take,” said Lowery.
Legislators are considering a bill that would prevent cities from changing the names of any park named after a war or veteran.
Tuesday,council members voted to temporarily rename the parks so the names won’t permanently be locked down if the governor signs the bill.
“They should keep their nose out of city municipality business and on state business,” said Lowery.
Weeks ago, Lowery introduced a plan that would add the name of civil rights icon Ida B. Wells to Forrest Park, which is named after a Confederate General.
The councilman says there’s nothing the state can do about it now.
But now, the city has to come up with permanent names for the three parks that have been temporarily named Health Sciences Park, Memphis Park, and Mississippi River Park.
City Council will be appointing a board made up of the Shelby county historical society, NAACP, notable historians in the city and two city councilmen.
They will make recommendations to the city council after studying several options.
“A lot of our education goes away when you lose part of your history. You don’t know where you came from, and you don’t know where you’re going,” said Lee Millar with the Memphis branch of the Sons of the Confederacy.
Millar says he hopes he will be asked to be on the board. He thinks the parks should keep their Confederate names.
“It’s a good avenue for discussion and I think most people would have an open mind on this and see the sensibility of retaining the names of these parks,” said Millar.
Civil war tourism is a $3 Billion a year industry in Tennessee and Millar believes changing the name will cost the state tourism bucks.
Some city council members say those names have ties to racism and even the KKK, and shouldn’t be allowed in Memphis.