Confederate Ave. residents meet to discuss street name change

JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

The recent call to change the name of two streets in a metro Atlanta neighborhood, specifically Confederate and East Confederate Avenues, has led some residents to initiate a community conversation on the topic.

While much of the chatter about changing the street names has played out online, Grant Park resident Andrea Knight, decided to move the conversations from online to real life.

“After watching what happened in Charlottesville, I had a very immediate ‘let’s get the name off the street reaction,'” Knight said. “I think if people actually talk to one another they can come to common ground. When people talk online they calcify in their position,” she said.

Knight first reached out to council member Carla Smith and Joe Thomas, the neighborhood resident who launched a name change petition on Change.org. Both will be in attendance at the Aug. 25 meeting at Hodgepodge Coffeehouse, she said.

Conversations in the community about changing the street names were energized after the events in Charlottesville.  Thomas launched a change.org petition that would be presented to Mayor Kasim Reed.

The name change of Confederate and East Confederate Avenues, two streets that run through the communities of Grant Park and Ormewood Park, is part of a larger effort to “remove symbols of hate from our city,” wrote Thomas.

“In response to the increasingly vocal population of white supremacists in this country, Atlanta must stand up and declare that neo-Confederates, Nazis, white nationalists, and their allies are not welcome here, and neither are their symbols,” he said.

By Aug. 16, the petition had surpassed 7,500 signatures. Mayor Reed said he would make a decision soon on whether to rename streets like Confederate Avenue. Links to the petition were shared on social media prompting exchanges between neighbors who didn’t always share the same point of view.

There were questions of history — would changing the street names be detrimental to history and what exactly is the history of Confederate Ave. anyway? There were also questions of economics — how much of an expense or hassle would residents who live on the streets have to incur if the street names were changed?

But these “conversations” were being carried out online and often they devolved into baiting and insults.

On the surface, it wasn’t unlike the last time the topic came up in 2015, just after the mass shooting of nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston by a 21-year-old white supremacist.

But after Charlottesville, there seemed to be a shift. Some neighbors who opposed the name change two-years-ago had changed their opinion.

Knight decided residents who actually live on Confederate and East Confederate Avenues needed a place to talk about how such a change might impact their lives and what practical measures needed to be taken.

She formed a separate Facebook group and invited them and other interested residents of Grant Park and Ormewood Park to talk about the issues face-to-face.

“I think it is important that people hear from people they might not have heard from otherwise. I definitely don’t want people to feel like anything is being done to them especially if they live on the street,” Knight said.

The conversations may not be easy to have, but there have been a few moments of levity — mainly from those offering up a potential new names for the street.

Something with “peach” and “Strange State Facility Lane,” have been tossed out.

And then there is Knight’s personal favorite, Considerate Ave.

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
phungnguyen
phungnguyen

Hoa tặng sinh nhật đẹp nhất là những món quà hoa tươi gửi đến người nhận với tấm lòng chân thành nhất. Tuy nhỏ bé nhưng nhưng món quà sinh nhật đặc biệt là quà từ hoa tươi để lại ý nghĩa và tình cảm sâu sắc nhất gửi đến người nhận. Một ngày sinh nhật không trọn vẹn nếu thiếu đi những lời chúc chân thành và những bó hoa sinh nhật đẹp nhất gửi đến bạn bè người thân nhận ngày sinh nhật của họ. 

https://hoatuoishop.net/danh-muc/hoa-tang-sinh-nhat/

jaki11
jaki11

Where will this end?  This is ignorance at its best. This world has gone crazy.

WonderingAboutAmerica
WonderingAboutAmerica

More black racism and ethnic cleansing run amok! When is someone going to condemn black racism and black nationalism?


Even more to the point, Ms. Knight, when did a Confederate monument or street name ever shoot, rob, or rape a black person? Seems to me y'all need to clean up the evil and poison in your own 'hood before steppin' out to poke somebody else in the eye.

Andrea M Knight
Andrea M Knight

@WonderingAboutAmerica Mr. Wondering, I don't racially qualify to be a 'black racist', if such a thing exists. Nor am I some yankee, since that seems to be a complaint I'm hearing. I'm white. I'm 7th generation Georgian. I want a street name that honors my neighborhood. And I want to talk to my neighbors to see what they want. All of which is frankly none of your business. 

Question91
Question91

I have shared this before and perhaps should share again. The Atlanta Constitution was founded by Carey Wentworth Styles and the Atlanta Journal was founded by Edwin Hoge both Confederate veterans.  What exactly will the AJC do?


History Man
History Man

I am not 100% sure about this--some other historian might know better-- but I think this road was given this name because it more or less lead to Fort Walker, the extreme southeast corner of the defenses around Atlanta. On its own it wasn't any kind of defensive sight or camp or whatever, being outside the defenses. Therefore it isn't likely very significant historically. Those who want to know more about Fort Walker and the circle of forts around Atlanta can check out a book "Walking The Line,". Www.hermograph.com/walkingtheline .

1Robert
1Robert

How about changing it to Robert Byrd Avenue ?  He was a leader of the democrat party not so long ago.

Manman
Manman

IN THIS THREAD: OTPERS WHO WOULDN'T BE CAUGHT DEAD ON CONFEDERATE AVE. THINKING THEIR OPINION MATTERS

72DCSD99
72DCSD99

Are we going to take the word "confederate" out of the dictionary even though it has different meanings?

Mudhole
Mudhole

Why did anyone buy property there if it is so offensive?

Maybe it should be renamed to hypocrite lane.

someonesdad
someonesdad

MLK, Jr was against gay marriage.  Time to remove those status and street names!

Len96
Len96

I wonder of the people who live there and wish they don't change the name as to not have to deal with the hassle of it all will be treated with within the charitable spirit of the progressive party. 

irishmafia1457
irishmafia1457

Got to be  F in kidding! So if another group gets up in arms and protests and say they want MLK Jr. Blvd changed will that work?

General Gordon
General Gordon

Change the name of Confederate Ave. then walk down Boulevard and buy crack, get robbed and see the pavement apes hanging out drinking 40s collecting welfare and making babies.  NOTHING WILL CHANGE BY ELIMINATING MONUMENTS AND STREET NAMES!!

Silent Jay
Silent Jay

@General Gordon You've never been there in your life.

Confederate Ave has the Georgia State Patrol Hq and the GBI Hq. Oh yeah, lots of thugs there.


It hasn't got dopeboys or hookers because Zone 6 APD pushed them out years ago.


Go water your lawn in Horseshoe Bend.

4williec
4williec

OMG...give me a friggin break...get over it already. 

Babycat
Babycat

If you pay all the costs associated with the name change, including the costs to individuals to change documents, etc., then go for it honey!

MissDaisyCook
MissDaisyCook

@Babycat

Good point.  Okay, we'll change the name if you will pay all the costs; from street signs and maps to individuals having to change their driver's license and billing address.  Certainly city resources could be put to better use.  Or, maybe you didn't have to move there in the first place if you didn't like the street name.  How about using a Post Office box, if so "offended" by the name.  Geez.  

Silent Jay
Silent Jay

@MissDaisyCook @Babycat 

Great point. Costs. 


An OTPer like you should know:

Establishing Milton County will cost you a billion dollars. Buy the fire stations, schools, school buses, create a jail...you're under water right there. 

Break a leg.



TruthReallyHurts
TruthReallyHurts

@MissDaisyCook @Babycat Those who live in the city have already paid. Their taxes have gone to maintain that street, and all others in the city, for years.

Nice try, but try again. Here's a hint: anytime you side with anything having to do with the failed confederacy, you'll probably end up on the wrong side of the argument.