Jayne: Sensitivity, compromise called for in naming of park

first_img It is simply a name, one that is distinguished in these parts yet has become problematic for the city of Vancouver.City officials are planning to christen a future park in honor of Ed and Dollie Lynch, longtime philanthropists who are as deserving of acknowledgment as anybody. Dollie Lynch died in 2010 and Ed Lynch in 2015, and they donated land for the park with the understanding that it would be labeled in honor of their family.The issue is that name. Lynch, er, lynch has a negative connotation. That’s what happens when a word comes to mean extrajudicial hangings often accompanied by torture. According to the Tuskegee Institute, some 4,743 people were lynched between 1882 and 1968 in the United States, about three-quarters of them African-American and about three-quarters of them in the South.This practice was celebrated. The website AmericanLynchingData.com shows a 1916 newspaper from Texas with the lead headline blaring “FIFTEEN THOUSAND SAW NEGRO BURN,” and pictures of mutilated bodies hanging from trees often would accompany the reports. There is no shortage of photos showing lynchings attended by the whole town, as if it were a community picnic.Needless to say, this is an ugly piece of American history. Needless to say, it particularly resonates with African-Americans.And while that has nothing to do with Ed and Dollie Lynch, it has much to do with the park that is planned for northwest Vancouver.It also has much to do with how this nation is attempting to reconcile its past, balancing educational history with modern mores. At a time when monuments to the Confederacy are slowly but rightly being relegated to museums rather than the public square, the manner in which we display our history is under scrutiny. Greg Jayne, Opinion page editorlast_img read more