BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As South Carolina removes the Confederate flag from its State House, a local movement is underway to take down Confederate landmarks. Monday night, the City Council took the first steps to rename Robert E. Lee Park—but it’s not something everyone is on board with.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the controversy.
Some say the name of the park is racially divisive but others argue it is a part of history.
A tranquil spot for boaters, dog walkers and fishermen alike—450 acres of city land just over the Baltimore County line. But this park is now the source of controversy because of its name: Robert E. Lee Park.
“That name needs to come down and a more appropriate name placed on it,” said community activist Dr. Marvin “Doc” Cheatham.
The City Council is now considering a bill to remove the Confederate general’s name and instead call it Lake Roland Park.
Cheatham says it’s about time.
“It is clear when you look at the history of the Confederacy what it stood for,” he said. “That they were supportive of slavery.”
Still, some say the name is historically significant.
“We would truly caution against any kind of erasure of our history and that’s the history of the state and the history of this city,” said Jay Barringer, Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The bill comes as the state tries to recall Confederate license plates and protesters push for the removal of Confederate statues.
The mayor has now formed a commission to look into what to do with the Confederate-era landmarks and memorials across the city.
Back at Robert E. Lee Park, plans to change the name have drawn mixed reactions.
“If it offends someone, then we should change the name,” said Donna Kinzer.
“I think there’s a lot of tradition to this park and I think Robert E. Lee has a different meaning from a lot of Civil War generals so I think it should be put in context,” said J.B. Howard.
The City Council plans to hold public hearings on the name change.
The park is owned by the city but is run by Baltimore County.
Monday night, the City Council approved a resolution commending the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Capitol grounds.