Local Washington Renames Park In Honour Of First Black Woman Senator

By Duchess Magazine

#BlackHistory just got a new addition!

Metro Parks Tacoma which was named after Benjamin Franklin, one of the country’s founding fathers has now been renamed.

The local park was renamed in honour of Rosa Franklin, the first African American woman to serve as a Washington state senator. This was after a decision reached by commissioners who unanimously voted on Monday to change the park’s name in her honour.

Franklin park becomes the first park in the city named after a Black American, reports say.

“I said, are you sure? My reaction was I was surprised because that wasn’t something I had expected,” said Franklin, laughing with joy and surprise after hearing the news about the park.

According to Metro Parks, it’s been renaming its parks since 2018 to better reflect local trailblazers like Rosa.

“This was a really good opportunity the park board wanted to pursue, particularly in observance of Black History Month and the really great lady and stateswoman who contributed to Tacoma,” said Parks director Debbie Terwilleger.

Aaron Pointer, Metro Parks board commissioner who is also an African-American, told The News Tribune that the renaming of the park is a gesture to commemorate the important contribution of not only Rosa Franklin, but also the black Tacoma residents in the city’s history.

“I really believe that it means a lot to people — and to kids — to see people who look like them represented in the names of parks and schools and other facilities. It gives people inspiration. To some, it might not mean a lot. But to others, it can mean a sense of belonging, and that the city recognizes that our people are a part of the city, and not just something that is disregarded.”

Erik Hanberg, the board’s chair, speaking on the move said the change of the park’s name was a ‘win-win’ as it would still be known locally as Franklin Park, even though a longer nameplate ‘Sen. Rosa Franklin Park’ will now adorn the entrance of the park.

“There was an opportunity to take a name from someone who had not been from Tacoma and had died long before the city was founded and replace it with an icon who is also a woman of color,” the chair told a newspaper.

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