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File #: 20-1178-0722    Name:
Type: Action Item Status: Passed
File created: 7/20/2020 In control: Board of Commissioners
On agenda: 7/22/2020 Final action: 7/22/2020
Title: REQUEST TO INITIATE THE PROCESS TO RENAME STEPHEN DOUGLAS PARK IN HONOR OF FREDRICK DOUGLASS
Title
REQUEST TO INITIATE THE PROCESS
TO RENAME STEPHEN DOUGLAS PARK
IN HONOR OF FREDRICK DOUGLASS

Body

To the Honorable Board of Commissioners of the Chicago Park District

I. Recommendation
It is recommended that an order be entered authorizing the General Superintendent or his designee to initiate a 45-day notice period to solicit public input to rename Stephen Douglas Park in honor of Frederick Douglass
Proposed Park or feature: Stephen Douglas Park
Location: 1401 S, Sacramento Drive
Community Area: Douglas Community
Wards: 12 and 24
Proposed Name: Frederick Douglass Park

II. Explanation

The Chicago Park District naming and renaming procedures allow for the naming of features in parks, including playgrounds and buildings. There is no Chicago Park District precedent for renaming a historic park. The renaming of parks is addressed in the Chicago Park District Code - Chapter 7, E.3. The proposal to rename Stephen Douglas Park to Frederick Douglass Park has strong community support.
The history of the naming of Stephen Douglas Park is as follows. In 1869, the Illinois state legislature established the West Park Commission, which was responsible for three large parks and interlinking boulevards. Later that year, the commissioners named the southernmost park in honor of Stephen Douglas (1813-1861). Best remembered for his pre-Civil War presidential defeat by Abraham Lincoln despite his superb oratorical skills, Douglas was a United State Senator who was largely instrumental in bringing the railroad to Illinois and Chicago. Douglas was a proponent of popular sovereignty (let the people decide), with respect to determining whether new states entering the Union would be free or slave. Douglas' wife inherited a slave plantation from her father, from which Douglas profited. In April of 1861, when the South fired on Fort Sumter, Stephen Douglas backed President Lincoln in support of the Union cause, stating "there can be no neutrals in this war, only p...

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