The City Parks Conservancy, the non-profit formed to solicit private contributions for Little Rock parks, removed language from its website last week that referred to War Memorial Park as being bordered by "middle to upper class Caucasian families" and "lower class African-American families."
Kellie Wilhite, executive director of the non-profit, said the language was removed from the site after a caller complained.
The description of War Memorial park on the conservancy site, which has a link on the Little Rock parks page in the city's website, had picked up wording from a grant application, Wilhite said.
The description, copied and included in a letter to Little Rock Parks and Recreation Director Truman Tolefree by Cee Cee Sloan-Cicirello, read, "Established in 1925 as only the second official city park, War Memorial Park is situated in the center of Little Rock, Arkansas, and encompasses about 200 acres. War Memorial Park serves a unique range of socio-economic populations and visitors. Bordering the park are Hillcrest National Historic District which houses mostly middle to upper class Caucasian families, the east central district comprised of mostly lower class African-American families ..."
"The language referring to 'class' is offensive and antiquated ... I don't even get why they find it the least bit necessary to refer to 'race,' " Sloan-Cicirello wrote Tolefree.
Wilhite said the wording was composed "before I came on board. To be perfectly honest, I think it was speaking of the vast audience the park serves."
Conservancy board member William Cobb, who was unaware of the site description, was taken aback by the language and glad to hear it was removed.