Views On Slavery Cause Lake Calhoun Renaming Effort

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.

More from Susie Jones
Comments

One Comment

  1. cabeleirae says:

    yeah good call. slavery is bad.

    1. Charlie Noffsinger says:

      Slavery has been dead for over 150 years, who cares, we have capitals in the Us named after slavery supporters. We have democrats who were against the civils rights, still in office, who now “support” blacks? Gimme a break.

      1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

        Not quite 150 years.

        1. Derek Petersen says:

          you’re an idiot

  2. Factpointer says:

    Those were different times, anything to be over sensitive about or complain about. I’m still in favor of slavery, at least they’d be working.

  3. Lee says:

    If we are going judge everyone in history with our modern enightenment we might as well erase our history and start over. I’m sure future generation will look back at us and be horrified how we idolize musicians and athletes who are rapists and murders.

    1. Mona says:

      I think that this is part of our history and we should leave it alone. Besides, We are trying to balance the budget and this will just give us another added expense that is not neccessary. This lake has had the same name for many years and why do we need to change it now. How many people think that they should have changed other things that might be a bit offensive to me or someone else. I think that we are taking some of these issues a bit too far.

      Does he realize all the maps, signs and brochures that would have to be re-printed due to this name change? If he is will to foot the bill for every business and state, city and county to change everything in their records than go for it… However, if he thinks that these companys and departments should foot the bill on tax payers backs than wait until July 1, when the State Office shut down due to not enough money.

  4. Cindy Wannamacher says:

    Wasn’t Chief Nokomis a slave trader too? Let’s get two buckets of paint. Whoever is creating this drama needs to respect it for what it was and appreciate the evolution which has come afterwards. Take the name away, forget it, and history may repeat itself. Go get a job yourself mister.

  5. Not fooling me says:

    Aren’t the county job programs for criminal offenders (lawncare and highway chain gangs) a form of slavery then too. Let’s cut them loose in your back yard Jack. Wow, amazing.

    1. Me neither says:

      Good point not fooling me, without slavery the boulevard grass on Victory Memorial Drive would be ten feet tall.

  6. TAG says:

    Let’s not stop here, let’s change the name of Washington Ave because he owned slaves. Then make a national effort to change the name of the Jefferson Memorial because he owned slaves. And then let’s change the last names of all blacks because their present last name is presumably the same name as their slave owner. This politically correct, non-productive nonsense steals time and energy from people who should be working on more important things.

  7. what a moron says:

    jesus if you have the time and energy to complain about something like this and formerly make an application you have some serious mental issues….get over it! This guy died 100 years before the civil war! For the record everyone alive during that time that was white had views we now consider offensive. Didn’t George Washington have slaves…should we take his picture off all currency? See the irony? Forget about it and move on with life….

    1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

      11 years before the civil war (1850) not 100.

  8. Victim Du Jour says:

    With this mindset, Shouldn’t the Democratic Party be dismantled?

    Their Donky symbol has more anti-black history than the confederate flag.

  9. D says:

    Oh give me a break. We have bigger and more pressing issues then the name of a lake. Grow up!

  10. SR says:

    If John Winters wants the name of Lake Calhoun changed, then he better be the one to PAY for it himself than wasting taxpayer money on this. If he’s offended by the name, he should take into consideration that there might be people out there who are offended by what he’s trying to do. All I have to say is ENOUGH of the political correctness and for John Winters to either get a life or get a job!

  11. Running Bare says:

    Let’s say we have 5000 welfare recipients in let’s say the north side of a given town. These people have to line up in our line to get stamps, cash, and food, and spend it in our designated stores before they go home to the homes we pay the mortgage on, aren’t they slaves too?
    Does anyone know that Chief Minneapolis made slaves out of everyone of his captures? Anyone know that? Anyone look up Mr. Snelling’s track record wrto slavery?
    I’m surprised a borderline personality disorder patient get’s this much attention. Do your due dilligence fellas and stop wasting the bandwidth.

  12. Victim Du Jour says:

    It’s just like the Metrodome, they called it the Pepsi-dome for awhile, and then “Mall of America Field”, but people still call it the Metro-dome.

  13. Keep our History Alive says:

    Just another way to waste more time and money. I’m so glad you had the time to trace the fact the guy was a supporter of slavery, get over yourself already! People wonder why racism is alive and well, it’s because of these people who want to erase history, move on history is what it is, yes there are unfortunate acts that were committed, that is why it’s called History and that is why we try NOT to repeat it. There is a famous quote, “Those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it!” Didn’t 9/11 teach us anything? What about the genocide in WWII, it happened in Africa, in Croatia, it’s happening in Syria, Afganistan, Irag, Pakistan. As for taking white wash to our history books, it’s already happening, it’s disquesting that students today don’t know anything about history, they are tomorrows leaders, if these new leaders don’t learn about the Revolution, Civil War, Spanish American War, WW1, bombing of Pearl Harbour, WW11, bombing of Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, 9/11/11 it will all happen again, changing names is not the answer, it’s called education for all to make sure our past is not forgetton and to make sure things like that don’t happen again.

  14. riley says:

    Just another idiot trying to make a name for himself. Leave things well enough alone.

    1. Larry Wikoff says:

      The name Lake Calhoun means something to people. My grandpa drowned in Lake Calhoun not Lake HHH..

  15. Tim says:

    Lets re-name it Lake Dontoffendanybody. Or maybe theres something racist in the word “Lake”. Mister Winters has his head up his butt

  16. Richard in Minneapolis says:

    Let’s not forget Loring, who was a Confederate general! Let’s start researching the names Aldrich, Bryant, Coulfax, Dupont, Emerson, etc, etc, to see if there are any skeletons in their history, whoever they are.

  17. Oecetiduta says:

    The original name of “Lake Calhoun” is Mdemadoza (Lake of the Loons), in the Dakota Language.

  18. Pauline Overby says:

    Slavery was a horrible thing. and still is.

    but it was 150 years ago, Minnesota has always been a very open and welcome state for all minorities, not just Swedes and Norwegians, we also accepted Chinese, blacks Jews Lutherans and even a few Catholics.

    In every state there are places named for someone that is disliked. Naming the lake for HHH would be just as offensive to some who fought him in the senate for years. someone is always going to disagree with a name.

    I am sure that very few Saints live here, not many wilds either.

    If one actually looks into everything a person has done they will find some dirt. Lincoln did not wish to free the slaves and did not free the ones in the North, only the south.

    It was a different time and their thoughts were also different. Maybe the Native Americans would like to change every name that is in reference to them? but In almost every case a Native name is used its out of respect, Now concidering that they killed many white people maybe the white majority would like to remove the Native names as some of their family died in the conflicts.

    this is 2001, let the past be. Its history, and those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it. Let the reminders remain, that way it will not be forgotten.

  19. Pauline Overby says:

    Slavery was a horrible thing. and still is.

    but it was 150 years ago, Minnesota has always been a very open and welcome state for all minorities, not just Swedes and Norwegians, we also accepted Chinese, blacks Jews Lutherans and even a few Catholics.

    In every state there are places named for someone that is disliked. Naming the lake for HHH would be just as offensive to some who fought him in the senate for years. someone is always going to disagree with a name.

    I am sure that very few Saints live here, not many wilds either.

    If one actually looks into everything a person has done they will find some dirt. Lincoln did not wish to free the slaves and did not free the ones in the North, only the south.

    It was a different time and their thoughts were also different. Maybe the Native Americans would like to change every name that is in reference to them? but In almost every case a Native name is used its out of respect, Now concidering that they killed many white people maybe the white majority would like to remove the Native names as some of their family died in the conflicts.

    this is 2011, let the past be. Its history, and those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it. Let the reminders remain, that way it will not be forgotten.

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      Minneapolis was a hotbed for the Ku Klux Klan during the 20’s, they had to pick on Catholics, Jews, Republicans and Irish immigrants.

      The Democrats have. Ku Klux Klan history in the State of Minnesota, and it’s linked to the lynching of black people in Duluth Minnesota in the 20’s.

  20. This guy says:

    Before this story did anyone know who Lake Calhoun was named after?? I just figured it was some dude who discovered the lake. It’s a name, who cares. I say this is as a minority and a crazy liberal democrat.

    1. Oecetiduta says:

      Keep your head in the sand, neo-settler.

  21. Kutt Calhoun says:

    I am so embarassed. I thought it was named for the 1950’s Jack Bennies butler ‘Calhoun.’ I’m selling all of my Calhoun property when the market opens.

  22. Kool Aid says:

    Give me a freakin break! Leave the name alone…..freakin liberals with too much time on their time!!! Who is paying for these morons?

    1. Barry N. Peterson says:

      Hey, Kool Aid, the Democrat is not that crazy about re-naming the lake. If anything, it should be renamed to the Dakota meaning.

      Please don’t objectify others lest you, yourself, become objectified and forgotten.

      1. Barry N. Peterson says:

        Should have been: “This Democrat is not that crazy about re-naming the lake.

        It is impractical and businesses would no longer have their names relevent to their region in Minneapolis.

  23. Reality says:

    Let’s be politically correct people and name it Farnsworth Jenkins Abernathy Lake.
    Let’s see,
    I’ll meet you at the Abernathy Beach Club at 10pm…. Not.

  24. Legal Historian says:

    Wow is this the same Winters that tried to sue Johnathan Winters, the Television star, and Johnny Winters, the rock star, for stealing his name during the 70’s? I really wonder if this is the same goof ?!?!

  25. Anonymous says:

    This is so dramatic. I support the point about so many other places being named after politicians with questionable intentions. Everyone is going to call it Lake Calhoun anyway, why go through the whole extraveganza when only a small fraction of people will acknowledge the change. More wasted time, when we could be adressing more important matters.

  26. tuna-free dolphin says:

    half of the late Senator Robert Byrd’s home state is named after him and he was in the Klan. I think we should dig up that dead racist democrat and sell tickets to dump and whiz on him. Who’s with me!.

  27. history mistory says:

    It’s the Minneapolis Parks Department for crying out loud!!! Isn’t this the kind of stuff they should be working on? Who says it’s a waste of time if Winters wants to exercise democracy and push for a grassroots change? You guys are a bunch of haters.

    I don’t think it is the same as Washington or Jefferson. While they were both slaveholders, Calhoun resigned from being vice president to go back to the senate and push for slavery. What a jerk. Washington and Jefferson served their country beyond their personal motivations and/or flaws.

    I wonder if people would be saying it’s a waste of time if it was Jefferson Davis Lake, or George Wallace Lake, or Lake Robert E. Lee, or Lake Adolph Hitler.

    We name and rename stuff in people’s honor every stinkin day. I don’t know if I like the idea of Humphrey (never voted for him) but if someone is worthy of a huge honor, lets name a lake after him. Its pretty clear Calhoun isn’t worthy.

  28. mike says:

    Quit living in the damm past. We have to many real problems to deal with.

  29. Calhounski says:

    Let’s name it after the Polish slavery abolisher, “Calhounski” I think the Parks and Rec Dept. can handle that sigh change. Wait a minute,,,

  30. dion says:

    I’m not unsympathetic with Mr. Winters’ sense of alarm over the lake’s namesake, but why stop there in the renaming effort? We have several streets, parks and schools named after figures in history that wouldn’t be held in esteem today for their viewpoints on civil rights. Washington and Jefferson were slaveholders even though both admittedly knew it wasn’t right. Even the “Great Emancipator” himself was torn in his view of blacks. And it was Phil Sheridan that said “The only good indian is a dead indian.” Looks like we’d have a lot of clean up to do if we tried to right every injustice in our history.

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