Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The South French Broad and West End-Clingman communities have pooled their energies to reclaim Aston Park for themselves. Part of that reclamation seeks to make the park inviting to African Americans, who for all of the city’s Jim Crow era were excluded from the park. Even now many African Americans see the park's emphasis on tennis as catering to the city's white residents. It is ironic then that the city, in conjunction with a university researcher, this year posted a marker in the park commemorating Confederate Gen. Thomas Clingman and tournaments performed nearby by post-Civil War Confederate troops. It is, of course, hard to escape history. Wherever we are something happened before. But to celebrate the Confederacy now in a park just as the surrounding community is trying to welcome African-American families seems clumsy and insensitive, if not just stupid.