Heritage tourism could suffer due to park name changes - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Heritage tourism could suffer due to park name changes

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Could heritage tourism die with the names of the controversial Memphis parks?

Communities across the south promote their civil war heritage to encourage tourism dollars. But since the Memphis City Council voted to rename three parks, some are expressing concern that heritage tourism could suffer.

Tourists paying a lot of money to visit old homes, buildings, and parks. They visit because of the role the places hold in history.

Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, where the controversial civil war general and his wife are buried, is one of three parks with civil war-related names to now be temporarily renamed by the Memphis City Council.

Since communities across the south are promoting their civil war history, could Memphis lose tourism dollars by removing the names due to their controversial associations?

"We don't need a history lesson and I'm not here as an historian and my role on city council has no responsibility to history and so forth. You know it's just not my responsibility," said Lee Harris, Memphis City Council.

Along with Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, two other parks, Confederate Park, and Jefferson Davis Park, have also been changed. It is an act that inflamed those who call the move revisionist history.

Harris says the city has other less divisive history to promote.

"For historical tourism sake, yeah, we've got different sites, for example, I represent a district in Victorian Village," said Harris.

The State of Tennessee is not shying away from its Civil War past on the Tourism Department's website. In fact, they created a smartphone application that tells the story of the war through pictures, places, and artifacts.

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