Renaming of MLK Community Center Sparks Outrage

Possible renaming of the MLK Community Center is making residents in the area upset.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Residents living in Columbia’s Martin Luther King Neighborhood are speaking out after hearing that there could be a name change to the community center.

A meeting, planned for this Saturday, aims to express concerns to Columbia’s council members as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park Community Center will soon see an addition to its name.

During a January meeting, Columbia City Council unanimously approved a resolution, renaming the center as the "Durham E. Carter Community Center at Martin Luther King Jr. Park."

Carter, who died at the age of 88 in December of 2016, was the president of the MLK Neighborhood Association and served on the memorial foundation for 27 years.

However, concerned residents, like Doretha Bull, don't believe the center should be renamed after him.
  
"You can't compare Durham Carter with Martin Luther King,” says Bull, who thinks Carter should be honored in a different way.
 
"We have no disrespect for Mr. Carter, but if they want to do something for him, put a plaque with his name and accomplishments on it."

Bull’s passion for the park stems from her past, when the area was named “Valley Park” and African Americans were not allowed on the playground.
 
"As a child I could not swing on one swing,” says Bull. “I was in the 11th grade before we could legally go in that park sitting in the middle of our neighborhood. When it changed to Martin Luther King Park it expressed a lot of pride and joy."

In a quick phone conversation with councilor Ed McDowell, he explained that council had no intention of changing the signage on the building.

Per the minutes from the January meeting, councilor Tameika Isaac Devine said that the new sign will be on the outskirts of the park, honoring carter without impacting the remembrance of Dr. King.

Bull says her community should've been allowed to give input on the renaming.

“This situation has aroused many people in the community, young and old.”

Bull and other residents plan on attending a meeting with Councilman McDowell on Saturday, March 4 at 6pm at the MLK Community Center.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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