ATLANTA -- An Atlanta city councilman is going to bat for Mims Park – and for naming the park after an Atlanta family with ties to the confederacy. The councilman, Ivory Lee Young Jr., says that’s only part of the story.
The plan is for a grassy space in northwest Atlanta to get built into a 16-acre park honoring Atlanta figures from the civil rights movement. The name of the park is the issue.
Atlanta’s Mims family is helping to fund the park – and to build the statues of 16 Atlanta civil rights figures.
More than a hundred years ago, Livingston Mims was mayor of Atlanta. Before that, he was a major in the army of the Confederacy.
And critics like Derrick Boazman say for that reason, naming it Mims park isn’t right.
"We have so many luminaries we could name this park for. Why would we go and get a throwback from Confederate days?" Boazman, a former city councilman, said Wednesday.
"This is an honorable family that has centuries of history in this city," countered Young, whose seat on the city council represents the Mims Park area.
Young wants the park named for the Mims family. The family includes a mid-twentieth century state legislator named Rodney Mims Cook. Young says Cook was among the few white lawmakers who voted to seat Julian Bond in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1966.
Cook was also among the sponsors of a famous civic dinner given to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
The park name "will be inclusive of the Mims family and the great accomplishments of that family, not the person who fought in the Confederacy," Young said.
Mayor Kasim Reed told 11Alive News last month that he will decide the name of the park —and will weigh both arguments when that happens. His office says that decision is still pending.