Signs Removed from Contested Memphis Parks
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The City of Memphis has removed the official park signs from Confederate Park on Front Street and Jefferson Davis Park on Riverside Drive. It happened Tuesday while many park supporters attended a city council meeting discussing whether to permanently change the parks' names.
A few of weeks ago, the council decided to change the names of Forrest, Confederate and Jefferson Davis Parks. They had already removed a sign at Forrest Park, which really set this whole thing off. Now the other park signs are gone.
"Really it's just a terrible travesty to remove these signs when they have not been changed permanently," stated Lee Millar with the group Sons of Confederate Veterans.
He's right about the names not being permanent. That's why others like City Councilman Jim Strickland are so ho-hum about the signs being taken down.
"I don't think it's a big deal that in of itself," Strickland said.
In February, the Memphis City Council gave the parks temporary names. A committee has been formed to come up with permanent names for Forrest, Confederate and Jefferson Davis Parks, all part of a plan devised by Councilman Strickland.
"Obviously there are hard feelings on both sides," he said. "But, this is a perfect issue that needs to be compromised."
You heard the man - compromise. It's a word that is currently on the endangered species list, especially with politicians. Both sides give and take and before you know it, you've got a plan where everybody gets something.
Maybe Strickland is right; just listen to Lee Millar.
"We'll give the committee a chance. There are some good historians on the committee. Hopefully they'll analyze the parks and realize these are historic parks and a benefit to Civil War tourism and a benefit to the City of Memphis."
Strickland says the naming committee should have its first meeting in the next couple of weeks.
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