Charlottesville votes to rename parks a second time

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Charlottesville statue robert e lee

The Charlottesville, Va. City Council voted on Monday to once again change the names of two parks that were, until last year, named for Confederate generals. 

Emancipation Park, which was renamed last year from Lee Park, will now be Market Street Park. And Justice Park, previously called Jackson Park, will become Court Square Park. 

The council voted 4-1 for the change. Councilor Wes Bellamy was the lone dissenter in the vote.


“When we choose neutral or easy names, it allows us to not deal with some of the issues we’ve had,” Bellamy said, according to The Daily Progress

“It doesn’t make us have to think critically about what’s going on,” he continued. “But if that’s the will of the people, so be it.”

A commission charged with examining Confederate imagery in Charlottesville recommended two years ago that the names of the parks be changed. The city council voted to do so in June 2017.

The name changes, as well as a decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from one of the parks, fueled a chaotic rally last year by white nationalists. The rally turned deadly when a protester opposing the racist groups was struck by a vehicle.

A petition submitted to the city council in December called for changing the park names again, arguing that renaming Lee Park to Emancipation Park was offensive, because of Lee’s role in the Confederacy. 

A survey of city residents that concluded in June found that 961 people – about 33.3 percent of the total vote – preferred renaming Emancipation Park to Market Street Park and 1,646 voters – about 57.9 percent – favored changing Justice Park to Court Square Park.

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