Petition to change name of Lake Calhoun, namesake supported slavery

There's a petition in the works to change the name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis in the wake of a fatal, racially-motivated shooting attack at a Charleston, S.C. church that killed 9 people this week.

Lake Calhoun was named after John C. Calhoun, a U.S. Senator from South Carolina who served as vice president, Secretary of War under James Monroe, and a particularly notable supporter of slavery. After resigning from his vice presidency, he had already been elected as senator and spent the rest of his life defending the slave-plantation system, even trying to form a party dedicated to protecting the institution of slavery amid a growing antislavery movement in the free states. As Secretary of War, Calhoun ordered the establishment a fort in the region, which became Fort Snelling.

"Minneapolis's Lake Calhoun is named after John C. Calhoun, a U.S. Senator from South Carolina, who dedicated himself to preserving white supremacy and slavery, and helped lead the push for southern secession and civil war. Calhoun went as far as to call slavery 'a positive good.' His name and legacy should not be honored anywhere," a letter to the Minneapolis Park Board reads.

At last count, the petition had nearly 200 signatures.

"This is our own confederate flag in Minnesota - and it must go. The name should revert back to its original: Mde Maka Ska," petition supporter Kevin Chavis wrote.

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