The Memphis City Council moved quickly this week to rename three parks that honor the Confederacy before state legislators could block the changes.
Confederate Park will now be Memphis Park. Jefferson Davis Park, named after the president of the Confederacy, becomes Mississippi River Park. Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, named after a Confederate general, slave trader and grand wizard in the Ku Klux Klan, will now be known as Health Sciences Park. The changes will be temporary until a newly formed committee helps the council decide on permanent names for the parks, USA TODAY wrote.
On Tuesday, the council voted to pass the measure, which typically would have required three hearings. That's because state lawmakers are considering a bill called the "Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2013" that would prohibit such name changes to parks honoring military figures, USA TODAY reports.
"We should cherish the history that we have, we shouldn't cover it up and try to bury it or hide it," said Becky Muska, who spoke against the name change at the council meeting, Fox News reports.
Kennith Van Buren, a civil rights advocate, supports the name changes, Fox reports. "These three parks have a racial history that should be erased," Van Buren said. "These parks are an embarrassment to our city."