Atlanta is turning a new corner to get rid of streets named for the confederacy.
Many people who live along Confederate Avenue have been pushing to have its name changed.
After the race riots in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, The City of Atlanta formed a Confederate Monument Advisory Group. After the group set recommendations to change street names and remove some confederate monuments in Atlanta. Nothing was done for months to make it happen.
That’s changing now, starting with Grant Park’s Confederate Avenue.
“The neighbors voted a couple of weeks ago, the ones that are affected,” said District 1 Atlanta Councilwoman Carla Smith. “They voted on the name United. That was what prevailed, and so we are moving along,” she said.
Smith says East Confederate Avenue will also become United Ave. Matt Westmoreland is on the three person council committee that is taking up the recommendations for name changes and removals.
“My goal is to not have monuments and celebrations to racism and to slavery and to the confederacy in our city,” said Westmoreland, the Post 2 At-Large Atlanta City Councilman. “I think it’s important that we not have things that honor that.”
Most people who talked to CBS46 said they didn’t have a problem with the name but support the change. Some voted for the word ‘united.’ we talked to said they wouldn’t want the words Confederate Avenue to be a part of their address.
Monica Whitehead said she doesn’t mind.
“That sounds better, but I don’t have a problem with either one,” said Monica Whitehead who lives at the intersection of Confederate Avenue and Confederate Court. “At the end of the day, it’s just a name,” she added.
For others in the community, the name matters. The council will focus on street names first. There about 7 different Confederate names on Atlanta streets at present.
Smith told CBS46, it would cost about $250 per sign to change them over.
As for the actual monuments, the city is considering contextualizing them instead of removing them completely.
“You have some monuments around the city where you have if you can apply appropriate contextualization, like a marker that says this is how this fits into our history. This is why this is here. Then, then we’re going to make sure that we are speaking about all different aspects of our history, and that’s it’s appropriate to keep some markers in place.”
Some members of the advisory committee have suggested explicitly mentioning slavery on the markers.
“I think the most important thing is we need to be a city where all of our kids can walk down the street and not walk down a street names Confederate and not walk by Confederate a monument celebrating the confederacy,” Westmoreland said. “In some instances, it is appropriate to remove those markers.”
“Just tell the truth about history,” Smith said. “And, if we do that then I think some of the monuments will stay where they are.”
There will be a public hearing September 25th at 9:30 a.m. at Atlanta City Hall. There will be a listening session on the matter on September 20th at 6:30 p.m.
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