by Jim Smilie
The Alexandria City Council will consider final adoption tonight of an ordinance authorizing the purchase of land to create a Civil Rights Park on the south end of downtown near the Arna Bontemps African American Museum on Third Street.
“The Alexandria Human Relations Commission has been working on plans to create a Civil Rights Park in the downtown area for many years,” said Alexandria Human Relations Commission Chair Amy Pillarisetti. “We have looked at many options. This land recently became available and would provide an ideal location for a park that could be similar in design to the existing Holocaust Memorial Park.”
A site near Lee Street and I-49 was originally designated under the Roy administration for a potential civil rights park.
Since that time, the State of Louisiana has established a Civil Rights Trail and recently placed a memorial to the 761st Tank Battalion at Camp Beauregard.
“We are aware of what the state is doing, and we have looked at civil rights memorials in other communities and states as well. We believe this property and its convenient location downtown would allow us to create a fitting tribute to Alexandria’s civil rights heroes,” Pillarisetti said.
“It is important that we recognize and preserve our heritage and history,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “This proposed site aligns nicely with sites of significance in Alexandria’s civil rights history and provides another opportunity for Alexandria residents and visitors to learn about our heritage while visiting the downtown area. I commend the commissioners on their efforts to create a fitting tribute to Alexandrians who made significant contributions to seeking equality and civil rights for all.”