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Views On Slavery Cause Lake Calhoun Renaming Effort

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Lake Calhoun

(credit: Explore Minnesota Tourism)

(credit: CBS) Susie Jones
Susie Jones has been with WCCO Radio since 1996. She started as a...
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By Susie Jones, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minneapolis Parks Board is being asked to change the name of Lake Calhoun, because its namesake was a politician who supported slavery.

John C. Calhoun was the secretary of war under President James Monroe and a vice president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Parks board member Brad Bourn says Calhoun was also an outspoken supporter of slavery.

Bourn and the board were approached by John Winters, a man who researched the lake’s name and concluded Calhoun was “one of the worst people ever born in this country.”

Winters spoke out at a park board hearing in April and then filed a petition with the board this week. He says the lake should be renamed for Hubert Humphrey, a civil rights supporter.

Some people walking around the lake Friday shared opinions.

WCCO’s Susie Jones Interviews Lake Calhoun Walkers

“Well, leave it Lake Calhoun,” said walker Bob Bimel. “It’s been Lake Calhoun for as long as I’ve lived here. I wouldn’t want to get used to a new name.”

Others like Miranda Lindsey say it was representative of the times, and says a change is not needed.

“At that point in his life it was something maybe that he did believe in and didn’t know much better at that time in history. So maybe if he was around today he wouldn’t believe that way.”

Kent Campos understands the effort.

“I am not stuck on it being Lake Calhoun. I mean if it represents a guy who represented slavery then it makes sense to change it.
 
A public hearing is expected in the coming months, but the change could take years.

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