Three Confederate Parks Get New Recommended Names

By Bill Dries

An ad hoc committee of the Memphis City Council voted Monday, April 29, on three permanent names to recommend to the City Council for three Confederate themed parks.

The council voted earlier this year to give the three parks temporary names in lieu of further council action.

The nine-member committee of citizens included two council members as well as historians.

The recommendations of the group are to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest Park as Civil War Memorial Park with an added recommendation that the statue of the Confederate general, slave trader and first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan as well as his grave and that of his wife remain there.

Jefferson Davis Park would be renamed Harbor Park for its location at the Wolf River Harbor. And Confederate Park, on the bluff above Jefferson Davis Park, would be renamed Promenade Park. The promenade is an area set aside by the city’s founders and their heirs for public uses only from Union Avenue to the current site of The Pyramid, between Front Street and the Mississippi River.

Eight of the nine committee members were present for the Monday, April 29, meeting and none of the votes on the recommendations were unanimous.

The committee voted down other recommendations including restoring all three of the old names as well as naming Jefferson Davis Park in honor of the late civil rights leader Maxine Smith, who died last week.

Also defeated on a tie vote was the name Naval Battle of Memphis Park for Confederate Park suggested by council member Bill Boyd.

None of the three recommendations are binding on the council.