The voting was mostly along racial lines, although no white council members actually voted against it. Voting in favor was William C. Boyd (white), Harold B. Collins (black), Wanda Halbert (black), Edmund Ford Jr. (black), Lee Harris (black), Joe Brown (black), Janice Fullilove (black), Myron Lowery (black), and Shea Flinn (white). Boyd's vote in favor of renaming is actually surprising since in January, he was publicly defending Nathan Bedford Forrest against misrepresentation by Fullilove. As for the remaining four council members, Jim Strickland, Kemp Conrad and Bill Morrison, who are all white, chose not to take a public stand and abstained from voting while Reid Hedgepeth, who is also white, did not attend the meeting. Photos and contact information of the city council available HERE.
However, suppression of Confederate history doesn't appear to be the only motivation; the city council is also involved in a partisan political "food fight" with members of the Tennessee State Legislature. It was Myron Lowery who set the whole brouhaha in motion when he originally surfaced a proposal to rename Forrest Park as Forrest-Wells Park, to include the name of local black civil rights activist Ida B. Wells. Lowery apparently thought that by appending Wells' name, it would prevent Forrest's name from being removed altogether. From there it snowballed, until Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Lexington) and Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) got involved and drafted the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2013 (HB 553), which 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, in the bill's language. A couple of the black city council members objected to Nashville, East Tennessee, and Republicans telling them how to run their city. But we know the real reason why they want to remove the Confederate names, and it has more to do with racial supremacy rather than geographical sovereignty.
It's possible Health Sciences, Memphis and Mississippi River won't be the final names of the parks, though. Future names would likely come out of the committee consisting of two council members, two university professors, a representative from the NAACP, a member of the Shelby County Historical Commission and the city parks director that was also established Tuesday night. Considering the composition of the committee, it is unlikely that the old names will be restored, although Councilman Collins later said “Who knows? We may come back and name the park Nathan Bedford Forrest, but we will never let the legislature in Nashville control what we in Memphis do for ourselves.” However, Councilman Harris demurred, saying "I don't think there is much of any chance that they'll go back to the names that sparked a lot of controversy."
Reaction: As expected, Stormfronters decried the measure. One pointed out that one of the first signs of an area being conquered is when place names get changed; this happened to Saigon in 1975 after the North Vietnamese conquest, and continues to happen in South Africa today 18 years after former President F.W. deKlerk surrendered the country to black majority rule.
But there's also considerable local opposition, including by some black residents, as recorded in comments to the various media stories. A sampling:
Candyce 14 days ago:
Millions of idiots across America believe that the war between the states (the civil war) was about slavery. They can't help it, they have been educated in government schools. The government teaches these lies because they want's division so they can gain more control of us!!! Because people are so brain-washed they call all the brave southern men who fought and died racists. Fine Christian men, like Robert E. Lee, who was even eulogised by his enemies after his death, are belittled and womanizing socalists like Martin Luther King, Jr. are elevated for god-like praise. Nathan Bedford was a hero and a man to be admired...but you wouldn't know that if you went to a government school.
V For Vendetta 14 days ago:
Blacks are always wanting whites to compromise. They are the most ungrateful race in the United States and will never be happy, irregardless of what concessions others make for them. All is owed to them, and if you think I'm wrong, why do we keep seeing one black generation after another on food stamps, welfare, public housing or other assistance, not to mention affirmative action and extortion? Give them a logical counterpoint and the race card is sure to be thrown. And who in their right mind would vote for a racist idiot like Fullilove?
Bill Mason 1 hour ago:
The problem with Memphis is the spineless white population who has cowardly backed off the "poor black man" ever since one black man got it in Memphis. If Memphians would grow a spine and finally stand up to the politicians who are using them for tools to control those "less fortunate" then this would resolve itself. Too many stooges have been given control of something they have no idea how to run for the sake of political correctness. This is truth wrapped in nothing but more truth. SHow me one successful city run by the downtrodden, poor black population. Aint gonna find one. Can a white politician mess things up? Sure but they at least don't have a perfect record for messing things up. The down trodden are down trodden because they are weak not because they are victims.
Leonard West 3 hours ago:
What was accomplished in this measure? Nothing! Changing the names of three parks, doesn't decrease crime, poverty or enhance the educational system in Memphis. I don't embrace the confederate history with open arms, but Memphis is a southern city and some aspects of confederate history, such as statues and parks named doesn't come as a surprise. I wan't to know why this issue wasn't addressed 10 or 15 years ago , particularly about a park being named in honor of Ida B. Wells?
Eric Barnett 2 hours ago:
Memphis politicians need to take a trip to all the thriving cities in the south. All those embrace the history and it draws tourist. Check out Charleston, Savannah and a huge number of cities and see how they are thriving by embracing their history. It makes me sick everytime I return to Memphis from a trip, there is NO comparison at all.