Skip to Content

Parks Board Seeks Input on Request to Rename Hadley Park

4/15/2021

The Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation is seeking community input on a request to change the name of Hadley Park to Kwame Leo Lillard Park. The proposed name change would honor Kwame Leo Lillard, a local civil rights activist who died in December.

The Parks Board will accept public comment for a 30-day period beginning Monday, April 19, 2021 and ending at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, 2021. The Board is soliciting public input before taking a formal vote to determine whether to petition the Tennessee Historical Commission, the governmental body that will make the final decision, on changing the name of the park.

The public will be able to provide input by email, standard mail, phone, in-person during the May 4, 2021 Parks Board meeting and at a community meeting that is scheduled for 6 p.m., May 5, at Hadley Park Community Center. Information on the various ways to provide input is listed below.

By Mail

Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation
ATTN: Hadley Park Name Change
Post Office Box 196340
Nashville TN 37219-6340

Clearly state if opposed or in favor of the name change.

Include your name and address.

By Email

metroparks@nashville.gov

Subject Line: Hadley Park

Clearly state if opposed or in favor of the name change.
Include your name and address.

By Phone

Call 629-255-1200, extension 51200

Clearly state if opposed or in favor of the name change.

Include your name and address.

At the Board Meeting

Parks Board meets at 12 p.m., Tuesday, May 4 in the Parks Board Room located at 2565 Park Plaza, Nashville TN. Participants will have a maximum of three minutes to state their opinion. Mask are required. COVID19 protocols will be in place.

At the Community Meeting

An in-person community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 5, Hadley Park Community Center located at 1037 28th Avenue North, Nashville, TN. Participants will have a maximum of three minutes to state their opinion. They will also be required to wear a mask. COVID19 protocols will be in place.

About Hadley Park's Name

Historic Hadley Park in North Nashville was established in 1912 and, for decades, was the only public park in the city opened to African Americans. The park area contained the Hadley family's home, whose plantation also became the site of Tennessee State University. Major E. C. Lewis named it Hadley Park but did not identify the Hadley he intended to honor. At the time, one of the city’s newspaper assumed Lewis meant the Hadley family, John L. Hadley specifically, a white slave-owning family who had lived on the site.

However, it’s also entirely possible that Lewis had intended to honor Dr. W. A. Hadley, an African American physician with whom Lewis had worked during the 1897 Centennial Exposition. Members of Dr. Hadley’s family attended the 2006 grand opening of the community center. However, in recent years the department has been unable to reach them.