A Washington state park dedicated to founding father Benjamin Franklin is getting a partial rename to honor a different Franklin — Rosa, the first black woman to serve on the state senate.
Metro Parks Tacoma voted unanimously Monday to give Franklin Park its new, longer name in honor of “a trailblazer” for the local black community, officials told The News Tribune.
“In recognition of the lack of public spaces named for people of color and in celebration of her inspiring achievements, the Park Board will rename Franklin Park in honor of Senator Rosa Franklin,” the board tweeted Tuesday.
The board’s chair, Erik Hanberg, called the name change a “win-win” because it will still be known locally as Franklin Park, even though longer nameplates with “Sen. Rosa Franklin Park” will eventually be added.
He insisted that it was not a slight on the founding father who didn’t “[lose] anything by having Tacoma change the name.”
“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,” Hanberg told the paper.
Metro Parks board commissioner Aaron Pointer said it would “give inspiration” and “a sense of belonging” to see a member of the black community recognized by the city.
“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,” Pointer The News Tribune.
Rosa Franklin, 93, admitted at the meeting that she was shocked when told of the plan, saying, “Are you sure?”
“I’m so appreciative,” she said.
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