NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One man is working with the community to change the name of Hadley Park to Malcolm X Park after learning that John L. Hadley was a former slave owner.
"This was actually a plantation," Joshua Lipcomb, a native of North Nashville, said of Hadley Park. "We're standing where slaves used to work for free and be beat and abused."
Lipscomb said he's proud to have been raised in North Nashville, and while he grew up in Hadley Park watching his parents play softball, playing basketball himself, and attending numerous events every year, he never knew the history of it.
It was recent that he heard that Hadley Park used to be a plantation where slaves were held, and after hearing that, he did his own research, then spoke to his community about what he found.
"The people had no idea, no on knew. I'd say 9 out of the 10 people had no clue," Lipscomb explained. "They felt hoodwinked, they felt disrespected, degraded."
Because of that, Lipscomb has started a petition to rename the park from Hadley Park to Malcolm X Park.
“Right now we want to send a message to all throughout the community of standing up against injustice," Lipscomb said. "I think the message of replacing a slave owner with a peace soldier like Malcolm X just sends a great message to the youth of any race, and it speaks for change, and I think that’s what Nashville needs right now.”
Lipscomb believes a name change can help empower the community and show that hate and racism, even if it's in the past, shouldn't be accepted.
“We’re not gonna stop crime or racism with just this park, you know, but I think it will change, it will give a certain air of dignity and pride to the black community."
Lipscomb plans to present his petition to Metro Parks during their next meeting on June 12th.