Erasing White America: Ben Franklin Park In Tacoma, WA Renamed for Black Sen. Rosa Franklin
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We call this the blueprint for erasing the history of White America throughout the USA.

Metro Parks renames park to honor Tacoma Sen. Rosa Franklin, ousting a founding father, The News Tribune, February 23, 2021

Ben Franklin is out. Sen. Rosa Franklin is in.

On Monday, Metro Parks Tacoma continued the trend of local institutions rightfully reexamining the names we’ve bestowed on important places, and — in the process — took a small step toward better reflecting the city it serves.

Since the 1930s, the roughly 20-acre park in Central Tacoma at 1201 S. Puget Sound Ave. — between South 12th and South 16th streets — has been named in honor of Ben Franklin, the portly kite flier and founding father. It was an homage contrived largely out of proximity, given the nearby elementary school that bears the same name.

Now, a unanimous vote by the Metro Parks’ Board of Commissioners has changed that.

In a decision that board chair Erik Hanberg jokingly described to The News Tribune as “pulling a King County,” Metro Parks officially renamed the park in honor of Tacoma’s Rosa Franklin, a former nurse and longtime parks supporter who became the first African American woman to serve in the state Senate.

At Monday night’s meeting, Franklin, 93, described the park renaming as an unexpected honor.

“Are you sure?” Franklin recalled asking when she heard the news.

“I used to live in that district. My two kids … went to Franklin Elementary, so you know that was a long time ago,” Franklin said. “I’m so appreciative.”

According to Debbie Terwilleger, Metro Parks’ director of business, administration and planning, the proposal met Metro Parks’ criteria for consideration. She said park staff spent roughly a month researching the idea and, ultimately, preparing recommendation in favor. During a public commend period Monday night, no one spoke in opposition to the move.

The transition won’t be expensive. Terwilleger said, though a final cost estimate is not yet available. Re-branding the park will require a new sign to be made, and interpretive features highlighting Sen. Franklin’s legacy are also planned. The interpretive signage is expected to cost roughly $5,000, she said.

According to Metro Parks board commissioner Aaron Pointer, who is Black, whatever the cost, it’s well worth it.

Renaming Franklin Park in honor of Rosa Franklin carries significant meaning, both symbolic and practical, Pointer said, particularly during Black History Month.

Prior to t he renaming of what’s now Judge Jack Tanner Park along the Tacoma waterfront in 2019, Pointer noted, Tacoma didn’t have a single park named after an African American.

Now, it will have two, hopefully with more to come.

That matters, Pointer said. Not only will it provide a concrete example of the work Metro Parks has done to improve equity, inclusion and diversity, but it will serve as an example to Tacoma residents — young and old — of the important role Black Tacoma residents have played 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,” Pointer said. “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.”

Hanberg, who was one of the first Metro Parks commissioners to discuss the possible name change, said the decision isn’t meant to disrespect or diminish Benjamin Franklin’s impact.

Rather, he said, the idea is to honor a woman of color who spent much of her life living in Tacoma and working to make the city a better place.

Since the decision will require little more than a sign change and residents won’t have to learn a new name for the park, Hanberg described the move as an obvious “win-win.”

“In this case, 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 said. “I don’t think (Ben Franklin) loses anything by having Tacoma change the name … to someone who is actually connected to our city and has done great things for our city.”

The Great Replacement is happening so quickly and swiftly, so few dare comment or stand to confront the changes.

But to make the changes cost effective, all you need for the equation is to replace a white person honored via a park or street or school, with a black person of the same surname.

Viola… the Great Replacement becomes permanent!

Rinse and repeat.

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