Proposed Law has City Councilman Considering Parks' Name Changes

Proposed Law has City Councilman Considering Parks' Name Changes

If an out-of-town Tennessee State Representative has his way, time may be running out for the Memphis City Council to change the name of a controversial park.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - If an out-of-town Tennessee State Representative has his way, time may be running out for the Memphis City Council to change the name of a controversial park.

City council members on Tuesday will consider adding civil rights activist Ida B. Wells' name to Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Midtown. Forrest was a Civil War general and KKK founder.

"His history is mixed at best and at worst it is pretty deplorable," said City councilman Lee Harris.

Harris wants to move fast to not only change the name of Forrest Park, but also Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park, both in downtown Memphis.

Harris worries if the city doesn't act fast, a proposed bill in Nashville could prohibit the city from considering it.

State Rep. Steve McDaniel, a Republican from outside Jackson, is sponsoring the "Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2013" which would prevent cities from renaming or re-dedicating statues or memorials.

"No statue, monument, memorial, nameplate, plaque, historic flag display, school, street, bridge, building, park, preserve, or reserve which has been erected for, or named or dedicated in honor of, any historical military figure, historical military event, military organization, or military unit, and is located on public property, may be renamed or rededicated," the bill reads.

"It means we are really going to have to move fast; it is just another issue where the state has decided to kind of take another issue out of the hands of local control," said Harris. "

"It is pretty aggressive, it is kind of confrontational," Harris added. "It is not how you want your state government to operate, but we are going to have to do something before it is actually law."

Harris says on Tuesday he'll ask the full council to consider switching all three parks.

"Most of the legislative agenda is inspired by ways to stop Memphis from moving forward, or a whole lot of it is," he added. "We should rename all three parks in a hurry while we still have the power to do it."

State. Rep. McDaniel could not be reached for comment.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus