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Hyattsville will study renaming Magruder Park

A playground at Magruder Park in Hyattsville.
A playground at Magruder Park in Hyattsville. (Rachel Chason/The Washington Post)
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The Hyattsville City Council unanimously approved a motion Monday requiring the city government to study the feasibility of renaming Magruder Park, which bears the name of a former mayor who donated the land on the condition that it be used for “Caucasian inhabitants only.”

The government will also examine how to update the deed to remove the racially restrictive covenant from 1927, when William Pinkney Magruder gave the land to the city. The 10-member council will write an action plan after staff members present their findings, the motion says.

City Council member Joseph Solomon, the motion’s sponsor, said he wants to rename the park as a way of recognizing that the diverse city of Hyattsville today bears almost no resemblance to the mostly white, segregated town of nearly a century ago.

Some council members, including Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, took issue with the motion that Solomon originally presented at a meeting earlier this month, saying it moved too quickly and without enough input from the public and robust discussion by the council. Solomon agreed to remove a provision in his original motion that would have had government staffers draft a list of 10 new names for the park if they determined its name could be legally changed.

Solomon said he feels “great” about the compromise reached Monday because it still requires the council to take action once the government completes its research.

“The council is taking bold action to address concerns about who our namesakes are and what values we choose to hold near and dear to us,” Solomon said.

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