Chicago Park District voted to move forward with the renaming during a special meeting on Wednesday, July 22.
On Wednesday, July 22, the Park District Board announced it was moving forward with the renaming of North Lawndale’s Douglas Park. The park, currently named for US senator and slavery advocate Stephen Douglas, will most likely be renamed in honor of renowned orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
The movement to rename the West Side park began back in 2016 when a group of students at Village Leadership Academy started campaigning to make Douglass the park’s new namesake. Four years later, the Park’s District unanimous vote to move forward with the renaming sets an unprecedented change. “We have not done this before,” said park board President Avis LaVelle. “We have renamed parks named with numbers, we have renamed parks named for trees and flowers, but we have not ever stripped the name of a historical figure from a park, and replaced it with someone else.”
Lavelle continued on to say the park would be renamed for Frederick Douglass thanks to the students’ effort and support from residents. “This community has made their voice loud and clear,” LaVelle said. “And they have put in the work to have that done.”
The park will most likely receive its new name in September after the 45-day period that has just opened for public input ends.
[Featured image: Chicago Park District]