Commissioners Vote To Rename Hugh MacRae Park: Long Leaf Park

Commissioners Vote To Rename Hugh MacRae Park: Long Leaf Park

Commissioners Vote To Rename Hugh MacRae Park: Long Leaf Park Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 15 July 2020 04:03

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

WILMINGTON - The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted Monday July 13th, to rename Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington as Long Leaf Park.
The name change is effective immediately, so the park’s signs were taken down \ and new permanent signs will be up in the coming weeks.
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, Jr. explained during the Commissioner's Monday July 13th, meeting, "There’s been a lot of conversation over the last many years about Hugh MacRae Park and what the name symbolizes," and, "I think it’s time that we change the name of the park, to change it to another name that can cause healing in our community. What we are looking at in our community is a new landscape, of healing and bringing everyone together and making sure that everyone has equity in the decisions being made."
In the 1920's, MacRae donated Hugh MacRae Park to the people of New Hanover County. He is a controversial historical figure for his involvement in the 1898 Wilmington massacre.
According to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, "The events of November 10, 1898, in Wilmington were a turning point in North Carolina history. By force, a white mob seized the reins of government in the port city and, in so doing, destroyed the local black-owned newspaper office and terrorized the African American community. In the months thereafter, political upheaval resulted across the state and legal restrictions were placed on the right of blacks to vote. The era of "Jim Crow," one of legal segregation not to end until the 1960s, had begun."
According to Jessica Loeper with New Hanover County, "The Commissioners’ vote to rename the park comes after listening to the community, and is another step in the county’s commitment to be an ally and an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community."
Commissioner Barfield explained, "The park is full of longleaf pines that are indicative of our region and the park is located in the Long Leaf area of our community," and, "So this new name just seemed right, as a way to highlight the park’s location, the characteristics of our community, and the beauty of the longleaf pine."
County Commissioner Woody White said the Board should have a more broad conversation with the community before making such a decision adding that he didn't care if it the name staid the same or was changed, but he felt the Board should make a decision at the spur of the moment.
Long Leaf Park is located in the center of New Hanover County at 314 Pine Grove Drive.

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