A Tennessee state legislator has introduced a bill that would, in part, prohibit the renaming or rededication of any historical monuments, memorials or parks previously named for military figures or wars. Rep. Steve McDaniel (R) sponsored the bill after the Memphis City Council voted to rename three parks with Civil War names. As of Tuesday, Forrest Park — named for Confederate war hero Nathan Bedford Forrest — became Health Sciences Park, Confederate Park became Memphis Park and Jefferson Davis Park was renamed Mississippi River Park.
According to a story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal by Richard Locker, McDaniel said he won’t try to have the state bill apply retroactively to the Memphis parks because he “didn’t want the legislation to become wrapped up in all of that.”
McDaniel said that while he doesn’t necessarily agree with decisions made in the past to place some monuments on the state Capitol grounds, they are there and are now a part of Tennessee history. “I don’t think that just because you disagree or don’t approve of the historical past that we should be changing the names on these parks or think about removing monuments,” the news story quoted him as saying.
McDaniel’s “Tennessee Heritage Preservation Act” is scheduled for a House subcommittee vote on Wednesday.