Website Responses Favor Keeping Park Names

Posted by John Branston on Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Hundreds of supporters of the original names of three downtown parks with Civil War themes overwhelmed all other choices in a web poll conducted by the city of Memphis.

The committee appointed to rename the three parks met Monday for 45 minutes but made no decisions. Members got handouts with the results of the web poll as well as a list of suggestions from the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce.

The former Nathan Bedford Forrest Park that triggered this exercise got 525 responses, with 481 of them favoring that name. Ida B. Wells was the second choice, with three votes, the same as Civil War Park.

The former Jefferson Davis Park also got 525 responses, including 484 in favor of that name. Confederate Park got 463 votes, with Confederate Memorial Park the runner-up with 7 votes.

Each of the parks also got a sprinkling of votes for such names as Consolidator Park, William C. Boyd's Folly Park, and Lost Cause Park.

The Chamber of Commerce recommended the names Rock N' Soul Park for Jefferson Davis Park, Tiger Park for Confederate Park, and Volunteer Park for Forrest Park.

Members of the committee complained that many of the responses to the web survey came from people who do not live in Memphis. Keith Norman said that factor, along with "the harsh tone may be some of the very reason why we are here." It is not clear how the home towns of the respondents were determined in the web survey. Unlike the public comments in an earlier meeting, respondents did not have to provide an address.

Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

I participated in that and wrote in "Ruby Wilson Park" for one of the parks and was dead serious about it. Oh well. Maybe one day, I guess. Ruby Wilson is a treasure as well as a really nice lady.

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Posted by merlin on 04/22/2013 at 8:03 PM

Honestly, I think Nathan Bedford Forrest Park should be renamed Nathan Bedford Forrest III park. As the historical marker in the park indicates, the grandson was a fighter pilot in World War II, and there is no question about his valor, loyalty to the United States, and there are no questions about Klan membership or racism. Seems like a fair compromise.
I was all for keeping Jefferson Davis Park when I read that he lived in Memphis after the war as President of the Southern Life Insurance Corporation. But then I read the awful inscription on the monument referring to him as a patriot (Once you've committed treason, you don't get to be a patriot anymore), and I changed my mind again. Call it North Promenade, which it in fact is. As for Confederate Park,, there is absolutely no reason for that name at all. There is nothing honorable about the Confederacy or what it stood for, and we should definitely name it something else. Harbor Park would do nicely, I think.

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Posted by progressivememphis on 04/22/2013 at 9:16 PM

They should move that stupid-looking horse and statue to Mississippi or Arkansas if those clowns down there want it that bad. Maybe they could put it on the front lawn of the KKK HQ ...

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Posted by Memphis on 04/23/2013 at 11:02 AM


You wrote:

But then I read the awful inscription on the monument referring to him as a patriot (Once you've committed treason, you don't get to be a patriot anymore), and I changed my mind again."

Oh, of course that is not the case. It was very convienent for the press to accuse Confederates of being treasonous, but the actions of the US Government after the war tell a different story. They were more than willing to forgive, forget, and welcome the Confererates back into the fold.

I don't need to point out all those "treasonous" Confederates who later became US Senators and Congessmen, civil servants, and soldiers in the US service. Some of them in senior positions.

Four Confederate generals ( Joseph Wheller, Matthew Butler, Thomas Rosser, and Fitzhugh Lee) became generals again. In the Union army.

I don't know of anyone who questioned their patriotism. Jefferson Davis had a distinguished record as a soldier and US Senator. The patriot inscription is correct, regardless of his later political decisions.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/23/2013 at 11:41 AM

everyone needs to get real.. It's a part of history,good or bad ,on tell something larger comes along then think about it. Should we rename the larain hotel just cuz it was a part of bad history? we are a part of the south,we can not do anything about that. good or bad its part of the U.S.A,should we try to rename the state to mimosa because thats what it was called before the "White Man" came along.

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Posted by Wayne Wheeler on 04/23/2013 at 12:41 PM

The Chamber's names are about as creative as I would expect from our Chamber of Commerce. “Tiger Park” at Confederate Park?! Why, because of the notorious river tigers that occupy the apex of the Mississippi River food chain? A 10 min. Google search identifies dozens of names that are all appropriate and without controversy.
Sultana Park would not only serve as a reflection on the Civil War, but would also honor all those whose last port of call was at Memphis before dying in that ship’s horrific explosion. Or expand on that theme to honor all the captains and crew that have perished in the river over the centuries.
What about Doherty Park for the Nobel prize winning doctor from St. Jude in place of Confederate?
I bet UT Med has at least one notable dean or doctor that would like to commemorate in what is for all general purposes now their park.

There- done. Everybody happy?

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Posted by barf on 04/23/2013 at 12:42 PM

Majority wins! Keep the names. You can't rewrite history.

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Posted by MemphisBelle1 on 04/23/2013 at 1:54 PM

Next time, make it a straw poll, where you can bring a bus load of paid supporters. It's the Memphis way.

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Posted by tomguleff on 04/23/2013 at 3:00 PM

Let's have a realistic count!

Put ballots in all of the school children's hands in the Memphis City Schools and have them take them home and ask the parents whether they want to keep the same names of the parks that honor the confederacy and have the kids bring them back to school the next day.

What do you think the vote for and against be?

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 04/23/2013 at 4:05 PM

Just do Park A, Park B, and Park C so no one is offended.

Seriously, I liked the idea of Ruby Wilson Park.

Name them after some of the music greats of the city. More than likely the names will be something lame, but I don't think it really matters. They're just parks.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/23/2013 at 6:19 PM

I'm with you grove, PC park 1, PC park 2, PC park 3 .........

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Posted by CEBorst on 04/23/2013 at 10:48 PM

Are we really still arguing over this.........?

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Posted by lifespalette on 04/24/2013 at 7:35 AM


Renaming it Sultana Park is an excellent idea. Unfortunately 95% of Memphisians don't have a clue what the Sultana is or was. I have read numerous articles about the Sultana and I have been very intrigued from the first article since. I guess I need to get a book about it. It makes the Titanic look very small compared to when it comes to death tolls. A lot of people in Memphis and the rest of the country have no idea of some of the historic and memorable things that have happened in their own back yard. I am just as guilty but at least I try. One little tidbit here is Tom Lee. Everyone should go to this site and read. It will bring a tear to your eye.…

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Posted by diogenes323 on 04/24/2013 at 9:24 PM


I don't think your idea would work. Most people would not understand what IBT Park would mean.

Posted by diogenes323 on 04/24/2013 at 9:27 PM

These magnificent old parks have graced the city of Memphis with their beauty since they were dedicated to the city of Memphis over 100 years ago. These parks were dedicated by citizens to honor an historical event that affected Memphis, the South and American history. Two of the parks were named in honor of two prominent men who had at one time been citizens of Memphis. One had won fame on the battlefield as a brilliant Confederate cavalry leader and the other had been legally and lawfully elected as President of the Confederate States of America. These lovely parks are historical landmarks. There is an appearance of racial motivation and just plain ignorance to want to spend the time and money to rename them. Wise city leaders would see the historical significance in retaining the original names of these parks. Prudent city officials would encourage visits to these parks for educational purposes, possibly including tours of the city and other historical places or points of interest. Half day or day tours could include the parks: plus a riverboat ride on the Mississippi, plus a trip to where the famous Sultana sank, the Zoo, Pink Palace, trip to Ft. Pillow some of the sites where General Forrest had some of his battles with the Union forces---------the possibilities are many and could include a stop for lunch at one of Memphis' many fine restraunts.

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Posted by RadarGort on 04/25/2013 at 12:18 PM

Should one have been able to at least find these parks on a map before voting?

I would have voted but no one offered me a chicken. This is the Memphis Way.

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Posted by crackoamerican on 04/25/2013 at 5:29 PM

You would be surprised at how many poverty stricken homes do't have computers in them and some of the ones that do have them can't afford the internet fee.

Yes a brilliant calvary officer who was embroiled in a tragedy at Fort Pillow. A good citizen of Memphis who made his living by buying and selling slaves.

How was Jefferson Davis lawfully and legally elected when the whole scheme of seccession was traitorous and illegal.

One thing about it, Radar, you sound like a true southerner, one who refuses to see history as it really was.

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 04/25/2013 at 11:26 PM
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