August 09, 2005

Sharpton to lead rally in Memphis Saturday over renaming of parks

Rev. Al Sharpton is planning to lead a rally in Memphis Saturday which is supposed to encourage city leaders to support the renaming of two parks in the city. The two parks are named after Confederacy President Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.

Saturday, a rally will be held not far from the parks to push city officials to move the names of men associated with racist acts of the past. Rev. Al Sharpton will headline the rally in hopes of getting more people on board, Judge D’Army Bailey, a Shelby County Circuit Court judge, told

“There have been thousands of blacks who’ve signed petitions asking (City Council) to rename the park. Rev. Sharpton looked at this as a battle in Memphis,” Bailey said. “He believes it’s a very significant national battle and one that needs to be won.”

“People ask the question, ‘What’s in a name?'” Bailey said. “But I ask them, why do they ban Nazi symbols and not have any recognition of Adolph Hitler in Germany? Why did the United States forces pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein as their first act against tyranny?

“Names and symbols represent either an allegiance to or disavowal of something,” Bailey added. “It’s well past the time to remove allegiance to those whose prime intention was to erase a whole race of people.”

According to some published reports, removing Forrest's name from the park bearing his name is not an option, since the name of the park was tied to the deed to the land the park sits on.

Posted by mhking at August 9, 2005 06:28 PM | TrackBack

Is that enforcable?

Posted by: DarkStar at August 9, 2005 08:23 PM

Racists do a lot of good things, too, and they should be remembered for those. The great fear of racism seems vastly unfounded, when one considers that most racial groups prefer to live apart.

Posted by: Vijay Prozak at August 9, 2005 09:20 PM

I don't think the condition on the deed is enforceable, Vijay, as the law doesn't like property being governed by dead hands. I'm with Al on the need for renaming Nathan Bedford Forrest Park.

Posted by: Matt at August 9, 2005 10:38 PM

Whoops, I meant to address Darkstar and not Vijay in my last comment.

Posted by: Matt at August 9, 2005 10:38 PM

I don't know if it is enforceable; I'd guess not, considering that there are conditions regarding white ownership of some pieces of property elsewhere that has been ruled unenforceable.

I was just passing along the other info I had heard about this (I'll admit I can't recall exactly where I had read that -- I think it was in the Nashville paper about a week or so ago, but don't hold me to it; I read so many newspapers' websites anymore...[g]).

Posted by: Michael at August 9, 2005 10:49 PM

Nathan Bedford Forrest is most interesting from military point of view. He invented guerrilla tactics. He had no military training and was the only Confederate general to never be
defeated in battle. He spent many months in jail
in swamps in MS river and ended in poor health and very bitter. He was son of blacksmith and became a wealthy in the slave trade. He started KKK and then quickly left it.
James M. Barber

Posted by: James M. Barber at August 10, 2005 07:53 AM


Posted by: Robert at August 26, 2005 09:14 AM
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