Chicago's Stephen Douglas Park Could Become Frederick Douglass Park

Jennifer Keiper
July 22, 2020 - 8:38 pm
Stephan Douglas And Frederick Douglass

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Park District Board has begun the process of  renaming Douglas Park on Chicago’s West Side. 

The board’s unanimous vote this week sets a 45-day public comment period in motion to evaluate naming the park for Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became a noted abolitionist.

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The park is currently named after Illinois senator Stephen Douglas, known largely for being a political rival of Abraham Lincoln. Douglas’s family reaped the benefits of slavery — a fact that has escalated efforts to diminish his presence in public buildings and spaces.

Sheila McNary of the North Lawndale neighborhood offered support for the idea to recognize Frederick Douglass. She said it’s timely during the Black Lives Matter era.

The park district board will revisit the issue in September. 

Early this year, someone adjusted the "Douglas Park" signs so that they read "Douglass Park" -- an attempt to move the idea forward.