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Parks Board Request Input for Changing Name of Hadley Park to Hadley-Lillard Park

5/4/2021
Jackie Jones, 615-862-8400

The Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation is seeking community input on a request to change the name of Hadley Park to Hadley-Lillard Park. The new name change request came from Councilwoman Sharon Hurt representing Metro Council’s Minority Caucus during today’s Parks Board meeting. This new name request replaces the previous petition to change the name from Hadley Park to Kwame Leo Lillard Park. The Parks Board will accept public comment for a 30-day period which will now end on June 8. The public will be able to provide input by email, standard mail, phone, and in-person during a community meeting that is scheduled 6 p.m., tomorrow, Wednesday, May 5, at Hadley Park Community Center.  The Parks 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.

Information on how to provide additional input is as follows.

Mail

Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation, Post Office Box 196340, Nashville TN 37203
ATTN: Hadley Park Name Change
Clearly state if opposed or in favor of the name change.
Include your name and address.

Email

metroparks@nashville.gov
Subject Line: Hadley Park
Clearly state if opposed or in favor of the name change.
Include your name and address.

Phone

Call 629-255-1200, extension 51200
Clearly state if opposed or in favor of the name change.
Include your name and address.

Community Meeting

An in-person community meetings 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. COVID-19 protocols will be in place.

The 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.

The proposed name change would honor Kwame Leo Lillard, a civil rights activist who died in December.