A new online petition is demanding that the City of Fort Worth rename Jefferson Davis Park in the southwest part of the city.
By Thursday evening, the change.org petition was quickly closing in on reaching its goal of 5,000 signatures
Emily Farris, a local political science professor, said she started the petition after watching last weekend's events in Charlottesville, Virginia. She researched local Fort Worth monuments that might have ties to the Confederacy and found the park.
“The park, like many other memorials and monuments across the country, were part of an effort to revise history, creating the myth of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, as part of an effort to preserve white supremacy,” she told WFAA on Thursday.
The petition itself states that “…given the diverse demographics of the park's surrounding neighborhood and our city, Fort Worth should find a more appropriate name for the park. The final name should be the result of community input.”
A city spokeswoman said they were aware of the petition, and the land for the park was purchased it 1923. It was named later the same year.
“The department is currently researching an official document that names the park i.e. park board minutes or city council minutes. After we have done our due diligence, we will make recommendations to the Park Board and the City Council on next steps,” Michelle Gutt said in an email.
That could happen within the next few weeks.
Farris said she is encouraged by the initial response. “I am glad to see so many Fort Worth residents taking interest in the issue. I hope the city officials consult with the neighborhood to find a more appropriate name,” she said.
The petition comes at a time when President Donald Trump has openly expressed his stance against removing the Confederate statues. President Trump posted a series of tweets, saying the removal "can't change history."
Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017