In March 2021, The Iowa City City Council approved the renaming of Creekside Park to James Alan McPherson Park. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was delayed, so in order to celebrate this important event, the Parks and Recreation Department rescheduled for Thursday evening, August 5, 2021, hosting a Party in the Park at the newly-named James Alan McPherson Park – located at 1856 7th Avenue Court.
I’ve written an earlier post on this amazing man, and you can click here to read it, but for now, here’s a short bio…
James Alan McPherson (1943–2016) was an American essayist and short-story writer. He was the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was included among the first group of artists who received a MacArthur Fellowship. At the time of his death, McPherson was a professor emeritus of fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Sandy and I live just a few blocks from the newly-named park and we didn’t want to miss the ceremony. Here are a few shots from the evening. Enjoy!
Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague had a few words of welcome…
James’ daughter, Rachel McPherson, shared some wonderful stories about her father, reading a collection of beautiful testimonies from others who had been so blessed to be around her father.
It’s time for the ribbon-cutting! That’s Parks & Recreation Department Head, Juli Seydell Johnson, helping out.
Mayor Teague said that James loved to sing, so in his honor, the mayor led us in a chorus of You Are My Sunshine to close the ceremony.
The McPherson Book Table (below) – a very nice touch to the fine evening!
James A. McPherson truly loved Iowa City, seeing our community as the basis of a spiritually centered democracy. He once wrote…
I have many friends here: black and white and other … I am confident that here, I am first of all a person, a human being. I have been accepted into the life of the community. I have open and free access to what in this community has meaning and value.
Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.