Rededicate New Orleans' Palmer Park

Rededicate New Orleans' Palmer Park

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Earl Palmer Park started this petition to New Orleans City Council

Located at the intersection of Carrollton and Claiborne Avenues in New Orleans’ Carrollton Historic District, Palmer Park offers the community a welcoming green space, playground, and site for the monthly Palmer Park Arts Market. It is a treasured local resource enjoyed by neighbors and visitors alike.

Once part of the McCarty plantation, the 5.6 acre site was set aside for public use by Charles Zimpel in his plan for the Town of Carrollton. At that time it was known as Hamilton Square.

In July 1902, through a New Orleans city ordinance, Hamilton Square was renamed Palmer Park as a “testimony to the honor of the late B. M. Palmer.”
Benjamin Morgan Palmer, the honoree, was a minister, orator, Confederate sympathizer, and staunch proponent of slavery. He is most remembered for his 1860 “Thanksgiving Sermon” wherein he stated that the “providential trust” of the South was “to conserve and to perpetuate the institution of domestic slavery as now existing.” He died in May 1902 after being struck by a St. Charles Avenue streetcar.

The park named in his memory remained racially segregated into the 1970s.
Earl Cyril Palmer was a New Orleans musician, dancer, U.S. Army veteran, and early inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1949 he played drums on Fats Domino’s “The Fat Man,” often cited as one of the first Rock and Roll records. On early recordings by Little Richard, Lloyd Price, and others, he developed a new beat that influenced literally thousands of drummers. Recording with artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, and the Beach Boys, he reinvented the rhythm of American music.

We call upon the New Orleans City Council rededicate Palmer Park to the memory of Earl Palmer.

At a time when the names of our city’s streets, monuments, and parks are being reconsidered, this action is appropriate.

In undoing the unfortunate 1902 dedication of a public space to a person so associated with the wrong side of history, it is long overdue.

As it requires no changes in signage or maps, it is thrifty.

We the believe that the memory of Earl Palmer is worthy of our city’s recognition and celebration. We further feel that although the history around B. M. Palmer and his times should never be forgotten, neither does it deserve commemoration in a green and pleasant public space.

It’s time to change the name of Palmer Park to Palmer Park.

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At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!