At its meeting on July 13, 2020, the majority of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved changing the name of Hugh MacRae Park to Long Leaf Park. The name change is effective immediately. The Wilmington, North Carolina park’s signs were taken down Tuesday, and new permanent signs will be up in the coming weeks.
Said Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, Jr., who made the motion to rename the park: “There’s been a lot of conversation over the last many years about Hugh MacRae Park and what the name symbolizes. I think it’s time that we change the name of the park, to change it to another name that can cause healing in our community. What we are looking at in our community is a new landscape, of healing and bringing everyone together and making sure that everyone has equity in the decisions being made.”
The park’s land was originally donated by Wilmington native Hugh MacRae, who has become a controversial figure for his involvement in the 1898 Wilmington massacre.
The Commissioners’ vote to rename the park comes after listening to the community, and is another step in the county’s commitment to be an ally and an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community.
Said Commissioner Barfield: “The park is full of longleaf pines that are indicative of our region and the park is located in the Long Leaf area of our community. So this new name just seemed right, as a way to highlight the park’s location, the characteristics of our community, and the beauty of the longleaf pine.”
Long Leaf Park is located in the center of New Hanover County at 314 Pine Grove Drive, Wilmington, NC. Learn more about the park and its features here.
More information on the 1898 Wilmington massacre is available in North Carolina filmmaker Christopher Everett’s documentary, Wilmington on Fire, available via Amazon Prime and other streaming services listed on the film website.
Source: Jessica Loeper, New Hanover County Government