When should history be erased?
There’s a battle cry in Memphis this week after the city council there voted to change the name of Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park. It also renamed Confederate Park as Memphis Park and Jefferson Davis Park as Mississippi River Park.
Supporters of the move say they are bygone reminders of the Confederacy and have no place in a racially divese city.
Nathan Bedford Forrest is buried in the park that once carried his name. He was a slave trader before the Civil War and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan after it, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper.
Memphis was trying to beat the clock. A bill passed an initial test in Nashville on Monday that would prevent cities from altering any “statue, monument, memorial, nameplate or plaque erected for a number of military events, including the ‘War Between the States,’” the paper reported.
The North is not immune from these controversies, although it appears that Tennessee is more sensitive to its past.
In Minneapolis, a debate flared briefly two years ago over a local man’s attempt to get the city to drop Calhoun… as in Lake Calhoun.
John C. Calhoun sent the Army to survey the region and authorized construction of Fort Snelling. That’s all it took to get a lake named after him here. The fact he was from South Carolina and was a militant proponent of slavery held no sway in the failed effort.