“Norton Gives National Park Service Deadline on Decision on Changing the Name of Melvin Hazen Park, Will Introduce Bill to Change Name if Necessary”

From Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office:

“Last Monday, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a letter giving the National Park Service (NPS) until August 31, 2021, to make a final decision on whether it will change the name of Melvin Hazen Park in the District of Columbia and informing NPS she will consider introducing legislation to change the name if NPS has not made a final decision by then. In February, Norton asked NPS to change the name of the park because Hazen helped demolish the African-American community in the D.C. neighborhood then known as Reno City. In response, NPS said that it needed to take more time to examine whether it has the authority to change the name, and if does have such authority, whether it should change the name.

Norton’s letter to NPS follows.

June 14, 2021

Kym A. Hall
Area Director
Region 1 – National Capital Area
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive SW
Washington, DC 20242

Dear Area Director Hall:

Thank you for your response to my letter requesting that the National Park Service (NPS) change the name of Melvin Hazen Park in the District of Columbia. I accept that NPS wants to take more time to examine whether it has the authority to change the name, and, if it does have such authority, whether it should change the name.

However, I request that NPS inform me of its final decision on whether it will change the name by August 31, 2021, when Congress returns from its August recess. If NPS has not done so by that date, I will consider introducing legislation to change the name. Melvin Hazen actively participated in demolishing a vibrant African-American community in D.C. He should not be honored on federal land.”

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