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Kansas City board to consider renaming iconic fountain

Kansas City should rename an iconic fountain and street that bears the name of an important city developer who barred minorities from living in affluent neighborhoods that he designed in the early 1900s, a member of the city’s parks board said.

Chris Goode wrote last week to fellow members of the Board of Parks and Recreation asking them to consider a new name for the J.C. Nichols fountain and a parkway that runs through County Club Plaza.

The fountain was the gathering spot for many of the recent protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“The time has come for us to stop turning a blind eye towards racism of past and present,” Goode said in the letter. “There is no immediate resolution to racism, that of which has been deeply embedded for over 400 years into the fabric of this country. We can however, make a collective decision to simply do the right thing, now.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement that he supported Goode’s suggestion.

“No person accelerated white flight, redlining, and racial division in the Kansas City area more than J.C. Nichols,“ Lucas said. “The time has long passed that we remove Kansas City’s memorials to his name.”

The park board said it would schedule two public comment sessions in the next 30 days before voting on the request.

Meanwhile, University of Missouri System President Mun Choi will meet Thursday with organizers of an online petition seeking to have a statue of Thomas Jefferson removed from the Columbia campus.

The petition, which had more than 3,200 signatures as of Wednesday, targets the statue because Jefferson owned slaves and fathered children with one of those slaves, Sally Hemmings, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

The statue has been the target of anti-racism protests in the past. In the fall of 2015, students used post-it notes attached to the statue to express outrage at Jefferson’s treatment of Hemmings.

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