The Malverne Village Board voted unanimously to rename a street that had previously been named after a Ku Klux Klan leader. Lindner Place will now be known as Acorn Way, following months of protest. The street was named after Paul Lindner, a village founder from the 1920s who also organised cross-burnings and KKK rallies on Long Island and in Queens.
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Who was Paul Lindner?
Linder, who was adopted by German immigrants in the late 1870s, was crucial to Malverne’s foundation and development. According to a Long Island Forum article, Lindner began working to develop the neighbourhood in 1915 in partnership with Amsterdam Realty Company and quickly gained the respect of the locals.
According to Village Historian David Weinstein, “many urged him to run for what was the equivalent of mayor at the time.” He gave a lot of money to the community.
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Despite being a part of Long Island, and more specifically Nassau County, the region had astronomical KKK membership rates. On Long Island, hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people would attend KKK rallies. In Lindenhurst, New York, Klan members from Queens and Long Island gathered on July 4th, 1927, to celebrate the occasion by setting off fireworks and burning crosses. Over 10,000 individuals came, according to the New York Herald Tribune.
Long Island KKK members intimidated the people they were targeting using the same tactics as their southern counterparts, including cross-burnings and massive gatherings. Cross-burnings were also part of funeral processions for deceased KKK members. The gang was also renowned for publicly targeting individuals and ejecting them from their residences and neighbourhoods. Lindner frequently attended these occasions as the local KKK chapter’s head.
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The Malverne School District in New York was the first to get a desegregation order in 1966. The district’s three elementary schools at the time were Woodfield Road, Davison Avenue, and Lindner Place. Paul Lindner, a farmer and up until recently, a well-known historical figure in Malverne, was the inspiration for The Lindner Place School, now known as Maurice W. Downing Primary School.
Residents of the village have discussed the idea of renaming Lindner Place because Lindner was a prominent member of Nassau County’s Ku Klux Klan chapter, in light of the fact that increased racial tensions have caused the removal of statues and the renaming of streets with questionable histories worldwide.