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Martin Luther King Park, Columbia, SC

The renaming ceremony for Martin Luther King Park took place January 18, 1988. Community activist Anna Mae “Saint Anna” Dickson said to an emotional crowd, “The renaming of this park not only honors a great leader, but it also recognizes the dignity of all our citizens, regardless of race, creed or color.”

The Nineteenth century Park, located between the Lower Waverly and Old Shandon, was originally called Valley Park. At one time the park was a garden showcase and featured distinctive roses like: John Russell, Columbia Constance and Black Roy.

In 1973, Columbia pastor and civil rights activist, James Redfern requested that the park be renamed “Black On Park.” His efforts were stopped by the Columbia City Council who argued that city parks are only named after a geographic location or a historically prominent Columbian.

The Stone of Hope, erected in 1996, honored King with symbolic granite features and an excerpt from the “I Have a Dream” speech.


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