One town in Florida is doing the right thing and changing street names celebrating Confederate generals – but it’s been one hell of a battle for them to win just 3 changes, and it’s not over yet.
The city in question is Hollywood, Florida, and this has been going on for a while. There have been protests, debates and even arrests, and this measure has been shot down before; in fact, a fight broke out when the topic came up in a council meeting last year.
Three streets are up for modification: Lee Street (for General Robert E. Lee) Hood Street (John Bell Hood) and Forrest Street (KKK member Nathan Bedford Forrest). It should also be pointed out that these streets are in predominantly black neighborhoods.
Now, those streets aren’t 100% set for rebranding just yet. The measure which passed only gives the city council the right to change the name without residents voting on it. If you want to read into that measure, it means that the people in charge of the city don’t trust the people they’re governing to agree with their decision.
The argument for changing the names is obvious. “It is not right that an African American mother has to tell her child she lives on a street named after someone that wanted them in chains or dead," said a public defender for the city. Those opposed to the new names are arguing that this new policy puts the city on a slippery slope: “We have streets named for slave-owning presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Madison. Activists have said those streets are next,” according to a local resident.
An actual vote to change the street names will take place next month. Should it pass, each of those streets will have two names – both the old one and the new – for two years, so everyone can adjust, apparently.
Still though, this has to be counted as a win!