RENO RESIDENTS CALL FOR NEW NAME AND NEW MEMORIAL FOR NEWLANDS PARK

RENO RESIDENTS CALL FOR NEW NAME AND NEW MEMORIAL FOR NEWLANDS PARK

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Francis G. Newlands, the creator of some of Reno’s most beautiful neighborhoods, was an avowed white supremacist, a mean-spirited and virulent racist even by the standards of his era. We are confident that the people of Reno do not wish to commemorate this man. It is time to remove a monument venerating Mr. Newlands and remove his name from Newlands Park. A new name — “Progress Park,” for instance — will better reflect our open, inclusive and welcoming community.

We acknowledge Mr. Newlands was a significant figure in the creation of the American West. As a Congressman and later as a Senator, he spearheaded the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902 which funded irrigation projects throughout the arid West and supported important conservation measures such as the U.S. Forest Service and creation of the National Parks Service.

But at the same time, Mr. Newland’s beliefs in white supremacy were extreme, even for his time. He viewed African Americans as “a race of children” unsuited for leadership or intellectual pursuits.  In 1912, Newlands advocated for a platform that called for disenfranchisement of African-American men and the limitation of immigration to whites only. He also promoted racist views of Asians and Jews. Click here to read Francis Newlands white supremacist views (15 pages)

Our community makes important statements about itself through the people it chooses to memorialize. We are not a city that chooses to commemorate Francis Newlands as a representative of the best of Reno. Today, we stand with Black Lives Matter by taking this small step. Together, one community and one neighborhood at a time, will move us toward a future in which we no longer pay homage to those who hate but instead celebrate those who believe in justice, equality and inclusion.

Please sign this petition to join with us in urging the City of Reno to replace the Newlands name on public locations and to create a new monument for Newlands Circle Park.

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