The Southern Legal Resource Center
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 7, 2005
Black Southern Activist visits Memphis to protest proposed name change of city parks
BLACK MOUNTAIN, NC – H. K. Edgerton, prominent black Southern culture activist, will be in Memphis, Tennessee, Wednesday and Thursday protesting that city’s proposed renaming of three public parks with Confederate associations.
The contemplated name changes will be the subject of a public forum at Memphis’ Pyramid Arena Thursday at 4:30. Edgerton says he will attend the forum and intends to voice his objection to the proposal. Prior to the forum, he will conduct mini-vigils at each of the three parks in question: Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Nathan Bedford Forrest Park.
The controversy over the parks’ names began in the fall of 2002, after it was reported that prizefighter Lennox Lewis and network officials of HBO were riding through Memphis, noticed the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Confederate Park, and were offended by it. Since that time, Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey has led a movement to change the parks’ names and downplay their Confederate connotations.
Edgerton, a former NAACP officer, is the current Chairman of the Board of Advisors of The Southern Legal Resource Center of Black Mountain, NC, an organization that provides legal assistance in Southern heritage cases. In 2002 he gained international notoriety by marching with a Confederate flag from Asheville, NC, to Austin, TX, to protest the removal of Confederate plaques from the Texas Supreme Court Building.
"Tennessee is the Volunteer State," Edgerton said Tuesday. "Well, I volunteer to come over there and at least go on record in opposition to this proposal. It’s like so many anti-Confederate things we see nowadays – just self serving politics dressed up as a social statement.
"It’s not even political correctness," Edgerton said. "There is nothing correct, political or otherwise, about destroying history and heritage."
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