Looks like another local conflict is looming in Birmingham over a proposal to rename a public park. The proposal calls for changing the name of Caldwell Park – named to honor a Confederate general and slaveowner – to recognize the contributions of former City Councilwoman Nina Miglionico, a social progressive who was appointed in 1963 and served for twenty years.
William Stewart, University of Alabama political science professor emeritus,
said conflict persists in the South where tributes to Confederate soldiers and
segregationists abound. "These were established at a time when the electorate was overwhelmingly
white and people didn’t have to be sensitive to African-American feelings to the
naming of facilities after the people who fought to keep them in slavery,"
On the other hand, according to D’Linell Finley, professor of political science at Auburn University:
At some point even though the city may be overwhelmingly black, there is a
realization that Confederate history is a part of our past too," Finley said.
"Don’t make it a loss of one history for the other.
Just one question for Professor Finley: Why do we have to frame this debate along mutually exclusive lines? Seems to me that there is plenty of opportunity to balance the way in which a city chooses to remember its collective past. More importantly, given the monopoly that white Southerners have enjoyed in regard to public spaces, there is obviously a deep need to do so.