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.”