Alabama Strips Confederate President’s Name Off Road

The first capital of the Confederacy has renamed a street honoring the Confederate president to recognize a Black civil rights lawyer instead, despite an Alabama law meant to protect rebel monuments and memorials.

The Montgomery City Council voted Tuesday night to rename Jeff Davis Avenue for attorney Fred D. Gray, who grew up on the street during the Jim Crow era and went on to represent clients including Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

“When I think of heroes who exemplify the best in our city, (Gray) is certainly at the forefront of that,” said Mayor Steven Reed, the city’s first Black mayor. He initially proposed the change in December.

The City Council’s unanimous approval could prompt a $25,000 fine under a state law passed in 2017 to prevent the removal or alteration of Confederate monuments, which have been challenged and taken down across the South, but Reed told news outlets donors already had offered to pay the penalty for the city, where delegates voted to form the Confederacy in 1861.

Gray, 90, still practices law in Tuskegee, located east of Montgomery. He told the Montgomery Advertiser the city had kept him informed.

“This is a project of the mayor’s,” he said. “He expressed it to me. I was very happy about it. And I am very happy about it.”

Gray was a young lawyer when Parks was arrested for refusing to give her bus seat to a white man in 1955 in defiance of the city’s segregation laws. He represented both her and King, then a young pastor who led the yearlong bus boycott that followed.

Gray is currently representing Tuskegee residents in a lawsuit aimed at removing a Confederate monument from a public square in the nearly all-Black city.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on whether the state would attempt to collect fine money from the city for renaming the street. The state recently collected a $25,000 fine after suing officials in Huntsville, where the county removed a Confederate memorial outside the county courthouse last year.

7 thoughts on “Alabama Strips Confederate President’s Name Off Road”

    1. There will never be enough to satisfy the black community. Look at the 900 lb statue of George Floyd in Newark, NJ.
      Black history month, Hispanic history month, and only one day for indigenous Americans. Count the number of black actors in TV commercials. Close to 50%. Some equity!

  1. Amazing we can waste money on items that haven’t bothered people until this whole fiasco with Floyd. Sorry, this country is off the deep end. If you don’t want interactions with cops then stop breaking the law!
    You will NEVER bring people together. You have good and bad in ALL cultures and decent respectable citizens that will never integrate with the wrong side of the tracks NOR should they have to. It is up to EACH of us to be responsible for our actions not hold an entire hostage to support corruptpoliticians, their agenda or the gutter trash of society.

    Half of this country is sick and simply needs to bein mental institutions. Our society now proves it!

    1. You are correct that half the country needs to be in mental institutions ( well, a little less than half). When you say things like honoring traitorous confederate soldiers with street names reminding the oppressed that people fought to keep them enslaved. Just because you and/ or people you hang around didn’t complain, doesn’t mean that it didn’t adversely impact others.
      You’re right though, we will never be together. Why would we want to be together with someone that thinks as backwards as you do?

  2. Thank goodness! It’s about time these traitorous murderers are no longer celebrated in American society. It’s time we teach real American history, not the whitewashed version that we like to pretend happened.

  3. the way you are changing Names and Statues, you would think that the Blacks settled this Country. I wish the early Whites, would not have ever bought them. We set them free, now we are Slaves.

    1. Don, you are a slave to capitalism, that’s it. You corporate masters control your life.
      How you can equate changing the name of a street from a confederate traitor to America, that is so offensive to so many, to you being a slave is utterly ridiculous.

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