There's a petition to change name of Lake Calhoun in wake of South Carolina shooting


People are petitioning to change the name of Minneapolis' Lake Calhoun in the wake of a mass shooting that left nine people dead at a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina last week.

The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, and since then many – including politicians – have been calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the South Carolina capitol building because some believe it represents hate, slavery and white supremacy.

Now calls to remove other similar symbols is extending across the nation – including to Minneapolis, where the symbol is not a flag, but the name of a popular Twin Cities lake.

Lake Calhoun – Minneapolis largest lake – was named after John C. Calhoun, a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, who also served as vice president and secretary of war. As secretary of war, he ordered that a fort be established in the region – that fort became Fort Snelling, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

But Calhoun was also known as an avid supporter of slavery.

"Calhoun went as far as to call slavery 'a positive good.' His name and legacy should not be honored anywhere," the petition says. The petition, which had more than 120 signatures as of Sunday afternoon, continues, saying:

"While changing the name of a lake will not, in itself, bring an end to injustice, it can and should be an important step in an ongoing effort to confront our nation's past and to end systemic racism and oppression today."

And the idea has the support of some members of the Minneapolis Park Board.

Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn told KARE 11, "I think Minneapolitans and Minnesotans have a different set of values than what – when you really think about it – the name of Lake Calhoun represents."

This isn't the first time there has been a push to change the name of the lake – one began in 2011, but stalled, KARE 11 notes. At that time, people suggested it be renamed Lake Humphrey.

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