Tempe May Rename Streets, Parks Named For Klan Members

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Tempe will consider renaming parks and streets named after former community leaders who were recently discovered to have been dues-paying members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The city said Friday that the names of will be up for discussion when the city council meets next week. They are Hudson Drive, Hudson Lane, Laird Street and Hudson, Harelson and Redden Parks.

The city's research showed that three schools also were named for members of the Klan. Officials say they've notified Tempe Elementary School District leaders about the namesakes of Laird and Hudson elementary schools and Gililland Middle School.

“Together we can acknowledge the past and make purposeful decisions that reflect our community values of equality and anti-discrimination," City Manager Andrew Ching said in a news release.

A Klan chapter called Butte Klan No. 3 included many prominent Tempe residents in the 1920s, including mayors, council members, bankers and other power brokers, according to a memo prepared for the City Council. The city's elementary schools were segregated, as was a swimming pool at Tempe Beach Park.

Another prominent Tempe figure was known for fighting the Klan. Col. James McClintock worked to expose the Klan and was the foreman of a federal grand jury investigating Klan violence, according to the city memo. He's the namesake for McClintock Drive — one of Tempe's major north-south arteries — and McClintock High School.

City officials are contacting descendants of the former Klan members “so they feel invited to be part of the conversations,” according to the city news release.