Gainesville city commissioners rename J.J. Finley park

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 12:08 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Gainesville city commissioners have voted to rename J.J. Finley Park, which bore the name of a confederate general.

The park will now be named after Carolyn Beatrice Parker. The only cost associated with the name change is the sign, which is expected to cost $500.

The vote follows the Alachua County School Board’s decision in August to change the name of the adjacent elementary school from Finley to Parker.

Parker taught at Lincoln High School after graduating magnum cum laude from Fisk University with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1938.

Parker, who was born in Gainesville in 1917, came from a family of academics. Her father Dr. Julius A. Parker was a physician who graduated from Meharry Medical College, the first medical school for African Americans in the South. Her cousin, Joan Murrell Owens, was a marine biologist.

During World War II, Park worked as a research physicist on the Dayton Project, a division of the Manhattan Project.

Parker and several of her siblings attended Lincoln High School. Her sister, Julia Leslie Cosby, became the first Black woman to teach in Alachua County’s school district.

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