Metro Council Members approved a resolution that requested the Metro Parks Board correct and update the name of Fred Douglas Park to Frederick Douglass Park.
The vote happened in just seconds Tuesday night, but for some it was a moment more than 80 years in the making.
“This is a big step,” said local historian David Ewing. “I’m thrilled Metro Council and people who sponsored the bill have been so supportive of Nashville history and getting things right.”
Ewing said he started researching the history of the park because it was something he always wondered about. He learned through newspaper clippings and meeting minutes, when the park opened in 1936 it was meant to be named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
He said the name has been incorrect for years. The Metro Parks Director agreed there was no record of a prominent Fred Douglas from the 1930s that the park could have been named after.
The popular 7-acre park on North 7th Street in East Nashville is frequently filled with runners, kids playing on the playground and soccer players.
As a result of the research, Metro Council members Scott Davis, Bob Mendes, and Angie Henderson sponsored the resolution to update the name.
“We just wanted to make sure we addressed this in February since it is African American history month,” said Angie Henderson, Metro Council Member for district 34. “It’s an opportunity to bring attention to the initial intent for the park.”
Henderson said the issue will go before the Metro Parks Board Naming Committee, and members will make a final recommendation to the Parks Board.
A spokesperson for the Metro Parks Board said some work still needs to be completed before the name can be updated, and she expected that to wrap up in about a week.