WILLIAM PINKNEY MAGRUDER PARK in Hyattsville, Md., can be renamed for artist and curator David C. Driskell (1931-2020). The famend historian of African American artwork was a longtime resident of Hyattsville. The park was initially named for a rich white landowner who served as mayor of Hyattsville from 1909-1911. Magruder donated the park land to town underneath the situation that its use be restricted to “Caucasian inhabitants solely.”
The 2-year renaming process included oversight by a chosen metropolis committee and public enter that overwhelmingly favored giving the glory to Driskell. On Might 3, the Hyattsville Metropolis Council handed a movement to alter the title of the 32-acre site to David C. Driskell Group Park. A council decision is required to formally rename the park. One is at the moment being drafted for the following council assembly on Might 17.
In a press release, town mentioned the “Council chosen the title of David C. Driskell Group Park to each honor an exemplary resident and higher mirror the park’s present use as a welcoming neighborhood heart.”
Daphne Driskell-Coles advised Tradition Kind the tribute to her father is far appreciated. “The household of the late Dr. David C. Driskell is honored in understanding that the neighborhood has voted within the renaming of Magruder Park… after my father. …I do know that I communicate for the complete Driskell household in saying that we’re excited and honored to see a change that can be for all the individuals of this neighborhood as an entire,” she mentioned by e mail.
The Hyattsville Metropolis “Council chosen the title of David C. Driskell Group Park to each honor an exemplary resident and higher mirror the park’s present use as a welcoming neighborhood heart.”
Situated simply exterior Washington, D.C., in Prince George’s County, the park has strolling and biking trails, sports activities courts and fields, playgrounds, picnic pavilions, a swimming pool, and recreation heart.
The brand new imaginative and prescient for the park has been underway since March 18, 2019, when Hyattsville Council Member Joseph Solomon, a candidate for mayor in in the present day’s metropolis election, launched a movement to start the title change. The movement, calling for town authorities to conduct a feasibility research, was handed unanimously by town council, and included a course of for figuring out the best way to replace the 1927 park deed by eradicating the racist, exclusionary, and outdated language.
A century in the past, Hyattsville was segregated and largely white. Right this moment, it’s a various city with a distinguished hall reinvented over the previous twenty years as an arts hub, a part of the Gateway Arts District that sits between Washington, D.C., and School Park, Md. The inhabitants of Hyattsville is about 37 p.c Latino, 30 p.c Black, and 30 p.c white, based on the most recent U.S. Census estimates.
DRISKELL MOVED TO HYATTSVILLE together with his household in December 1976, after accepting a place at close by College of Maryland (UMD), School Park. He lived in Hyattsville for greater than 4 a long time and was a professor of artwork at UMD for 21 years (1977-1998), serving as the primary African American to chair the artwork division, from 1978 to 1983. He retired as a Distinguished College Professor Emeritus of Artwork in 1998.
Three years later in 2001, the college established the David C. Driskell Middle for the Examine of the Visible Arts and Tradition of African Individuals and the African Diaspora. The middle is a gathering establishment that presents exhibitions and public packages and homes the Driskell archives.
In retirement, Driskell remained lively as ever—lecturing and writing, touring extensively, accepting awards and honors, exhibiting up for exhibition openings of the artists and curators he skilled and mentored, and in addition persevering with his personal inventive apply. He divided his time between Hyattsville, Falmouth, Maine, and New York Metropolis. Driskell died April 1, 2020, from problems as a consequence of COVID-19. He was 88.
“He was a nature lover who appreciated all that the panorama of the outside provided and represented. Lots of his work captured the pine bushes and the fish-filled brook that adorned his summer time property in Maine and the flowers that embellished his entrance yard right here in Hyattsville,” Driskell-Coles mentioned.
“Simply as human beings are part of nature, I can envision a change of artistic impression coming to the park that won’t solely have my father’s title however it should have his love, appreciation and respect of nature depicted all through.”
“Simply as human beings are part of nature, I can envision a change of artistic impression coming to the park that won’t solely have my father’s title however it should have his love, appreciation and respect of nature depicted all through.” — Daphne Driskell-Coles
THE CITY OF HYATTSVILLE opened the Magruder Park renaming course of to the general public, welcoming options from the neighborhood. Greater than 830 proposals had been acquired by way of an internet survey, a devoted cellphone line, mail-in postcards, and a suggestion field positioned within the park. The deadline was Nov. 15, 2020. The checklist of submissions included the names of cultural and and political figures, and phrases related to social justice and neighborhood unity.
Among the many hottest selections, had been greater than 60 variations of Hyattsville Park, together with Hyattsville Group Park, Hyattsville Metropolis Park, and Hyattsville Central Park. Hamilton Park, given the park is positioned on Hamilton Road, was recommended 11 instances. Greater than 40 submissions lobbied to maintain the Magruder title.
Names with nationwide profiles and native roots had been on the checklist. There have been 38 options for the park to be named for Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets and a College of Maryland alum. Muppet Park, Kermit Park, and Rainbow Connection Park had been additionally among the many concepts submitted. Two submissions favored Aaron McGruder, the artist and creator of the caricature and animated TV sequence The Boondocks, who additionally graduated from UMD.
Different native figures had been proposed, too. Solutions included Adam Francis Plummer (1819-1905), an industrious landowner who saved an in depth diary and introduced his household again collectively on the property the place he was enslaved; beloved UMD basketball star Len Bias (1963-1986); Morgan Wootten, basketball coach at DeMatha Catholic Excessive Faculty for 46 seasons (1931-2020); Fireplace Chief Emeritus Donald “Doc” Moltrup, who served for 35 years; and former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, who turned the primary Black girl to carry the workplace after being elected in 2015.
Properly-known historic figures together with Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., Shirley Chisholm, and Maya Angelou had been recommended. Newer political and authorities figures had been additionally within the combine. Ruth Bader Ginsburg acquired 10 submissions. Seven floated President Obama and/or First Girl Michelle Obama. There have been six preferences for Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings. John Lewis, the Georgia Congressman and civil rights legend who died final yr, made the checklist, alongside together with his well-known phrase “Good Hassle.” Three individuals recommended the park be named for Donald Trump. Make America Nice Once more was additionally proposed.
Names similar to Black Lives Matter Park, Breonna Taylor Park, and George Floyd Park had been pitched. Angela Davis was talked about. Many options included variations of Indigenous Peoples, All Peoples, Individuals’s, Residents, Solidarity, Friendship, Hope, Freedom, Justice, Peace, Inspiration, Unity, and Group Park. Variations of Suffragette Park had been additionally among the many names recommended.
NUMEROUS OPTIONS WERE SUBMITTED, many proposed a number of instances. Driskell garnered essentially the most curiosity with greater than 230 submissions suggesting the park be renamed in his honor. A lot of the proposals included a short clarification concerning the alternative. Chosen feedback (unedited) included:
- David Driskell is a well-known black artist and was a distinguished chief locally and on a nationwide stage. He owns a historic residence within the Hyattsville neighborhood. It could be a honor to call magruder park after David Driskell
- Examine his resume. Rise up man for his household.. Group.. And the blk American tradition as nicely
- Dr. Driskell’s household nonetheless lives within the space inside strolling distance. He has enriched his neighborhood with artwork and philanthropy. He deserves a memorable place in our neighborhood.
- For papa!
- Its a terrific title and a good way to honor my mates grandfather.
- David Driskell’s impression upon the artwork world is immense, and as a fellow Howard grad/artwork scholar I feel it will be lovely to have the park named not solely after such a pivotal artist however one who has helped paved the best way for a lot of Black artists after him.
- There was a time when this park didn’t settle for Black individuals. There isn’t any higher one to honor the legacy of a loyal Hyattsville citizen and pioneer of artwork than the late David Driskell.
Quite a few choices had been submitted, many proposed a number of instances. David Driskell garnered essentially the most curiosity with greater than 230 submissions suggesting the park be renamed in his honor.
A joint committee of town’s Race and Fairness Job Pressure and Well being, Wellness, and Recreation Advisory Committee oversaw the renaming course of, reviewed the submissions, and honed the checklist down to 5 choices in a memo offered to town council on March 15.
The first suggestions had been David C. Driskell Group Park, Unity Group Park, Gateway Group Park, Inspiration Park, and Nacotchtank Group Park, to “memorialize the Native individuals who lived, raised households, prospered, and died on this land.” One secondary title was additionally submitted, “Group Park,” a reputation that signifies “everyone seems to be welcome.”
A public listening to on April 5 offered a discussion board for neighborhood suggestions on the ultimate options into account. Final week, the council took a vote and selected Driskell.
Kevin Ward, Interim Mayor of Hyattsville, mentioned “renaming the park as David C. Driskell Group Park provides a brand new chapter to the park’s storied historical past, one which we consider embraces a few of Hyattsville’s core values of inclusivity, neighborly care, and appreciation of the humanities.”
Ward added that the “Council understands eradicating the racist language from the deed and renaming the park just isn’t a cure-all to deal with problems with race and inequity within the Metropolis, however we really feel it’s a step in the fitting path.” CT
FIND MORE Protection from Route 1 Reporter details the May 3 vote by the Hyattsville Metropolis Council
FIND MORE “David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History,” the primary main solo museum exhibition of Driskell’s profession, surveying his apply from the Fifties to 2000s, closed Sunday on the Excessive Museum and travels subsequent to the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, the place it opens June 19.
READ MORE on Tradition Kind about David C. Driskell in memorial tributes from artists, curators, and students; his survey exhibition “David Driskell: Icons of Nature and Historical past”; and a recent HBO documentary anchored by “Two Centuries of Black American Artwork,” the exhibition Driskell organized simply earlier than he moved to Hyattsville
“David Driskell: Icons of Nature and History” coincides with the exhibition of the identical title, the most important solo museum exhibition of the artist’s profession. “David C. Driskell: Artist and Scholar” by Julie McGee paperwork the life and work of David C. Driskell. “Two Centuries of Black American Art” accompanied with the landmark exhibition visitor curated by Driskell in 1976 on the Los Angeles County Museum of Artwork. Driskell co-authored the exhibition catalog “Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America.” These volumes think about David Driskell’s inventive apply: “Creative Spirit: The Art of David C. Driskell,” “David Driskell Painting Across the Decade 1996-2006,” and “Evolution: Five Decades of Printmaking by David C. Driskell” by Adrienne Childs with contributions by Ruth Fantastic, Deborah Willis, and Julie McGee. Driskell paperwork his personal artwork assortment in “Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection.”
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