Editorial 

Updating the Parks

Of all the my-way-or-the-highway matters that are real or potential flashpoint issues for this community, none is more volatile than the question of our local parks. (Nobody needs to be reminded of the ongoing controversy over the future of Shelby Farms.) But the most difficult future-tense problems may have to do with those public facilities that memorialize our past, specifically the Civil War part of it. Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy in general are invoked in two smallish but strategically located expanses overlooking the Memphis riverfront. And Nathan Bedford Forrest not only has a park named for him, he is buried there.

Shelby County commissioner Walter Bailey and others, sensitive to the subsequent liberation and rise to equality-under-the-law of African Americans, believe that these local parks should be renamed to accommodate a more democratic and more contemporary sense of the total community. The subject was raised at a forum last week and generated somewhat more heat than light, as adherents of two polarized points of view chose to go after each other, almost as if performing a Civil War reenactment.

The issue resurfaced at a weekend luncheon at which Bailey and commission colleague Bruce Thompson were invited to share their thoughts. When the parks issue inevitably came up, the polarity of views was evident. But the dialogue was more productive this time -- thanks largely to the Dutch Treat Luncheon's moderator, Bill Wood, who kept things polite and who has a compromise solution that makes sense.

Keep the parks with the names and statues and other appurtenances they now possess, Wood proposes, but update them with additional monuments and inscriptions that would attest to the historical heroism and suffering and accomplishments of our African-American population.

It's an idea worth considering, and a way of breaking a long-standing impasse.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Beyond the Arc

Beyond the Arc Podcast #84: The Dillon Brooks Era

Tiger Blue

#25 Memphis 42, Houston 38

Music Blog

Butthole Surfers and Bad Seeds Salute the Man in Black

Music Blog

Soulsville USA Festival Lights Up McLemore Ave.

We Saw You

Emo and you

Intermission Impossible

Let GCT's Honky Tonk Angels Sing for You

Beyond the Arc

Five Notes on Grizzlies/Pelicans

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Flyer Staff

Readers also liked…

  • Dear Chuck Brady ...

    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Common Sense Pot Policy

    Unlike Bill Clinton, I've inhaled. So have 49 percent of all Americans, according to a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Marijuana (medical or otherwise) has been decriminalized or legalized in 23 states, and measures are on the ballot to legalize it in five more states this November, including Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and California (where medical pot is already legal). A recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans think pot should be legalized and regulated like alcohol ...
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • A Letter to the Memphis City Council

    The council gets an “F” for its performance on the Greensward decision.
    • Mar 10, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation