City of Tempe will consider renaming locations tied to former, local KKK members

Oct 17, 2021, 7:00 AM | Updated: 6:39 pm
Tempe Council Chambers (City of Tempe Government/Facebook Photo)...
Tempe Council Chambers (City of Tempe Government/Facebook Photo)
(City of Tempe Government/Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — In an upcoming session, Tempe city council members will consider renaming city parks, streets and schools that have been linked to a local Ku Klux Klan chapter from the 1920s, officials said Friday.

Research done by the Tempe History Museum showed that three schools within the Tempe Elementary School District — Laird, Gililland and Hudson — as well as Hudson Drive, Hudson Lane, Laird Street and Hudson, Harleson and Redden parks all hold names after deceased members of the KKK’s Butte Chapter No. 3.

The council will meet to discuss the issue, and intends to follow the outlines of a council-approved facility naming policy last updated in 2017.

“Bringing this issue forward for community awareness and consideration is the right thing to do,” Andrew Ching, city manager, said in a statement.

“Together we can acknowledge the past and make purposeful decisions that reflect our community values of equality and anti-discrimination.”

Representatives from multiple Tempe groups will be included in the committee, such as the Neighborhood Advisory Commission, the Human Relations Commission, the Tempe Elementary School District and the African American Advisory Committee.

As the city works to consider renaming such locations, it is working with family members who have city-owned locations named for their ancestors to ensure inclusions in the conversations.

Background materials for the discussion are available online and an online hub is to be launched with information about the renaming process and a chance for public input.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and can be streamed live on the city’s website and YouTube page and broadcast on the Phoenix Channel 11 station.

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City of Tempe will consider renaming locations tied to former, local KKK members