Name game: 87% say don’t change Charlottesville park monikers

| May 21, 2017 | 19 Comments

Following numerous polls indicating strong backing for keeping the General Lee Statue in Charlottesville’s Lee Park, the city’s “erase-and-rename” history folly has been further exposed.

A just concluded City-Hall-sponsored contest to submit new names for Charlottesville’s beleaguered Lee and Jackson Parks shows overwhelming support for leaving the park names alone.

Of 1,381 submissions for Lee Park, nearly 87% of respondents favored retaining the present name. Only 13% of respondents submitted serious alternatives, among those:

  • Liberty Park
  • Abraham Lincoln Park
  • Peace Park
  • Emily Couric Commons
  • Sally Hemmings Park
  • Obama Park
  • Forgiveness Park
  • Eugene Williams Park
  • Wes Bellamy Park
  • Monacan Park
  • Julian Bond Park

A similar number of entries were received for Jackson Park, and of those about 88% suggested no name-change. 161 sincere substitutes included:

  • Harriet Tubman Park
  • Unity Park
  • Nannie Cox Jackson Park
  • Transformation Park
  • Commonwealth Park
  • Justice Park
  • Kristin Szakos Park
  • Malcolm X Park
  • President Andrew Jackson Memorial Park
  • Progress Park
  • Sheila Jackson Lee Park

During a recent public meeting, Charlottesville City Councilors directed City Manager, Maurice Jones, to limit consideration of park-re-christening submissions to only “appropriate” names, and they designated Jones as the arbiter of propriety.

Given this constraint, it’s unlikely that the ultimate deciders of the fates of Lee Park and Jackson Park will be allowed to consider—or even be informed of—the lopsided public sentiment against their interminable, gratuitous meddling.

(Click here to read the entire list of submissions)

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.
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19 Comments on "Name game: 87% say don’t change Charlottesville park monikers"

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  1. Bill Houff says:

    I won’t comment about the patriotism Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jackson exuded during their lives. That’s without debate. However, it hurts my heart that Charlottesville City Council is not willing to listen to that vast majority that disagree with their shortsighted views. If this truly forced action finally happens, I hope the names of those voting in favor are noted so that they can be tossed out at the next election.

  2. John Heyden says:

    Here is a DIRECT QUOTE from Bob Fenwick on this subject which pretty much tells you how things go here….”I understand the Lee Park is what the majority of the people want, but I don’t think that would be appropriate”
    Emphasis on “I don’t think”…well who the HELL does he think he is? You ask US what we want, then tell us that not appropriate? This is just like every other decision that’s been made here goes…
    The BRC votes to keep….they change that vote. Online petition people vote 10 to 1 to keep statues, they vote to remove.
    They ask us to vote on a name…we do, they tell us that’s not appropriate.
    Stop LYING to us and telling us you want our opinion. YOU DON’T.

  3. Gayle Millner says:

    I was born here. My ancestors arrived in Virginia in the mid 1600’s. We were poor farmers then, and until my grandfather’s move to Charlottesville from Fluvanna, we were still. He became a carpenter. My grandmother became the head cashier at Standard Drug Store. My mother and her two sisters attended county schools. Afterward, the city annexed the property my grandparents owned, so I grew up attending city schools. In my youth, I attended church at First Baptist, across from Lee Park. You cannot imagine what a sanctuary it was to escape organized religion when I was testing my wings. Lee Park –
    Pink Polka Dot Park, Liberty/Transition/New Age/Aren’t We All So Awesome Park – Who are we? We are a product of the past. Right or wrong. We are cumulative compost, smelly yet capable of growth. Scrubbing our city clean of the rights and/or wrongs of our locale, won’t change our history, and might have consequences we never intended. What will change our current situation is putting our money where our mouths are – what in the actual heck is with repairing the AC at Crescent Hall? What are we doing to help people who have no home/house/food/health care? Don’t walk by people begging on the street or on the downtown mall like they aren’t there. And don’t toss a buck or two in their direction to assuage your guilt. DO SOMETHING. Talk to them. Find out what they want or hope or drema. Moving statues and changing park names means nothing. What means something is taking care of our community’s real needs now, not taking a Mr Clean Eraser to spiffy up someone’s resume to their next political aspiration. Spend money where it actually helps our human/neighbor community. I’m assuming, of course, that you live here, and plan to continue to live here. The rest of you are dilettantes. Feel free to spend as you please and move on. But don’t run for local political office, tell us what you think we need, or expect us to happily dance on your puppet strings because you are not fully invested in Charlottesville for the long run. The door doesn’t close because you are now here. The really wonderful thing about my town is that we don’t close our doors. We leave our doors open because we know our neighbors are welcome, warts and all. Even for you.

  4. Ken says:

    Scrubbing our city clean of the rights and/or wrongs of our locale, won’t change our history

    That’s right. I wish that instead of moving the statue, progressives would contextualize with the kind of signage now at the base of the Confederate Women’s Monument in Baltimore. That reads in part:

    “Monuments like this one helped to perpetuate the ideology of the Lost Cause movement which began shortly after the Civil War to promote the views of Confederate sympathizers about the causes and events of the Civil War. Popular national organizations, like the Sons of Confederate Veterans, perpetuated many of the Lost Cause tenets, which portrayed slavery as benign, secession as justified, and advocated for white supremacy.”

    But many conservatives won’t even countenance that.

  5. Al Morris says:

    The problem with inscriptions is this. They are written by a few that have no idea how each citizen views these statues. Remember that the now despicable RE Lee was offered command of the Union Army. I find it pathetic when we use 2017 social standards to judge the decisions of those who lived nearly 150 years in the past. Accusing people that honor those that fought for the south of racism and supporters of slavery is foolhardy. One can honor the sacrifice of people merely defending their homeland while completely rejecting the concept of slavery. I don’t need a small group of elites to tell me how I feel about those statues.

    What the hell happened to the committee’s recommendation to keep the statues and diversify the parks to make it more inclusive? I firmly believe the “get’em out of there” movement is driven by a small group of progressives and activists hell bent on accomplishing THEIR goals. I say to hell with such folks. That includes Richard Spencer FWIW. I have no use for the words “white supremacist”, or “white privilege” for that matter. I’m white so I suppose I’ll get mine all at once in a lump sum. Then I’ll be supreme and privileged but too damn old to enjoy them. ;)

  6. Ken says:

    No one claims Lee was despicable before the secession, obviously. It’s the fact that Lee turned the Union Army’s offer down and served the Confederacy itself that people judge him for. Obviously. As it happens, I don’t consider Lee despicable at all. He faced a difficult moral choice, and chose wrongly, but most men in his place in his time would have done the same.

    The Baltimore inscription is correct, however. These Confederate statues were not erected only or even primarily to honor Confederate heroes. They were erected to honor “the Lost Cause.” They were erected to prop up the fiction of the Noble South, where slavery was more or less benign, and to prop up the fiction that the South seceded on principle to preserve states’ rights – never mind that the specific right it wanted to preserve was the right to hold other human beings in slavery. It’s this myth that is still at stake today. This myth, and the hatred of anyone who would bust it, is what motivates the statue’s chief defenders: the Richard Spencer types, and the locals who were upset about Richard Spencer not for what he believes but because he tarred them by association.

    Think about it. The war happened a century and a half ago. Why do so many people still find their identity through it? They’re not honoring the dead. They’re propping up their egos and excusing their resentment.

  7. Al Morris says:

    LoL at

    “Think about it. The war happened a century and a half ago. Why do so many people still find their identity through it? They’re not honoring the dead. They’re propping up their egos and excusing their resentment.”

    That little indulgence in psycho babble is what the average soldier that fought in the Civil War on both sides would call horsesh!t. If you can project what people think and feel today, I can do it for those who lived and died a century or more ago.

    I’m done with this topic. I’ll honor the late Sonny Randle by quoting his signature signoff, “sssoo long evrybody”.

  8. Ken says:

    We don’t need to project for the politicians who led the South to secede, or the civic leaders who erected monuments to “the Lost Cause” (not the “Wrong” or “Shameful” Cause, but what they saw as the sadly lost Cause). Nor do we need to imagine how dear your side still holds that whitewashing myth. We can look at their words and your rage.

  9. Not a Lib says:

    Ken, once again, you must have the last word on a thread…ugh! I believe you largely miss Al’s main point in this. To me, that is “One can honor the sacrifice of people merely defending their homeland while completely rejecting the concept of slavery. I don’t need a small group of elites to tell me how I feel about those statues.”
    You cannot help yourself from telling Al how he should feel or passing judgment on his opinion. Afterall, he doesn’t agree with you or you ilk so therefore, he is a whitewasher, correct?!!!!

  10. Ken says:

    “The last word” has been written when it turns out that the other guy has nothing left to say. By your logic, in your terminology, by disagreeing with me Al is passing judgment on my opinion and telling my how I should feel. But I don’t hold it against him. What he’s doing is just called disagreeing.

    Al’s right that he doesn’t need anyone to tell him how to think. He’s also clearly correct that people can honor wartime sacrifice while rejecting slavery. But if you and he read your history, you’ll see that isn’t the real reason – or, if you prefer, the only reason – the statue was erected. Therefore, that is not what it symbolizes to the people who want to remove it. Again, I favor leaving the statue in place and telling the story of why it was erected. You guys oppose even that. As Christians, we’re called to love our neighbors and even our enemies. You won’t even empathize with them. If, although you want to leave the statue in place, you accept that it was erected to glorify the Lost Cause, I would be happy to read that. If you reject the clear historical record, what other reason is there than the one I’ve given?

  11. Not a Lib says:

    Ken, I never stated or implied that I don’t want to tell a story of why the statue was erected. To me, that would be a good compromise. But, the city is moving in a different direction.
    The Civil War was a lost cause. That much, we can agree on, because that is a fact. The status was erected to glorify a lost cost cause? I think that’s ridiculous. I am glad slavery was abolished and Abraham Lincoln is one of my heros. However, he wasn’t perfect and I am sure that he didn’t foresee how large the federal government would become and how it would trample on states’ rights through the courts simply by overreaching by citing the commerce clause in all sorts of cases.
    As much as you don’t want to acknowledge or admit it, the war was fought just as much to preserve states’ rights as it was to preserve slavery. Sadly, preserving states’ rights was a lost cause too.

  12. Ken says:

    NOL, I’m glad you’re not opposed to contextualizing the statue, although I’ll bet most Schilling Show listeners are. Of course the loudest voices on the Left are adamantly opposed to it as well, and will accept nothing less than its removal. If that removal is blocked in court, I expect the statue will be desecrated by the same folks who think yelling at Jason Kessler in public is a mature and efficacious and justifiable way to conduct a political argument, rather than juvenile self-indulgence.

    Here are the written words of Virginia governor John Letcher on January 7, 1861: “For the present condition of public affairs, the non-slaveholding states are chargeable; and if the Union shall be destroyed, upon them will rest the solemn responsibility. Their systematic and persistent warfare upon the institution of domestic slavery as it exists amongst us — their fierce and unqualified denunciation of it, and all who recognize or tolerate it, have done much to create the present state of exasperation existing between the two sections of the Union.”

    He goes on for quite a while in that vein, condemning Union states for teaching in the schools, “in the pulpit, in public meetings, in private associations, in their legislative assemblies in their statues, on all occasions” that slavery is “morally, socially and politically wrong,” and for encouraging and enabling slaves to revolt. No Virginia delegates – not even one – criticized slavery as you would expect them to do if secession was for them merely a principled act in favor of states rights.

    South Carolina, as you know, was the first state to secede. Here are two easy to find quotes from its politicians on the issue: “The anti-slavery party contends that slavery is wrong in itself, and the Government is a consolidated national democracy. We of the South contend that slavery is right” — Alfred P. Aldrich. “Our people have come to this on the question of slavery.” — Laurence Massillon Keitt. You can find plenty more like these.

    The glorification of “The Lost Cause” is in perfect keeping with human nature, which hates to acknowledge an ignoble motive like the one above, and so invents a noble myth. You can google the term if you’re unfamiliar with the idea and its history, but when you write that “the war was fought just as much to preserve states’ rights as it was to preserve slavery,” you show that you’ve been indoctrinated with it. Kudos to you for acknowledging that the preservation of slavery was a motive at all.

  13. Not a Lib says:

    So Ken, were the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 myths as well? You can google those if you are unfamiliar with them. I assume you are unfamiliar with them because of your comment about my indoctrination. I would argue that you have been indoctrinated as well.

  14. Ken says:

    Are you seriously trying to say the tariffs were the cause of secession? Back it up. Why didn’t the South secede when they were much higher?

  15. Douglas Hill says:

    Rather late chiming in here as I missed the thread. Ken, why didn’t the South remain in the Union under the proposed original 13th (Corwin) Amendment to the Constitution which protected the institution of slavery for perpetuity, and of which Lincoln in his First Inaugural Address said “…I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”?

  16. Ken says:

    Probably for the same reason you guys aren’t joining progresives in Charlottesville’s anti-KKK activities tomorrow: long nurtured animosity is not easily set aside.

    Take a look at some the wording in the anti-secession ordinances.

    Virginia:
    The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.

    Georgia:
    The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property,

    Mississippi:
    In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course. Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world.

    South Carolina:
    an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations,

    Texas:
    [Texas] was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery– the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits– a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. . . . We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
    That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.

  17. Douglas Hill says:

    And so my question goes unanswered, as expected.

  18. Ken says:

    Right, and black is white. I not only gave you an answer, I gave you more evidence, added to that which I’d given before, that the defense of slavery was the cause of succession. To the facts, you’ve had nothing to say. Here’s another fact: the Corwin Amendment was never adopted.

  19. Douglas Hill says:

    Good job, Ken. Wikipedia pulls through again. Not adopted since the South said “thanks anyway”.

    BTW is was actually secession, not succession. Oh that they did succeed(!); then you’d likely be living up North, perhaps under a sickle and hammer flag.

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