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Council approves renaming East South Street to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive

Albemarle City Council has passed a motion to rename East South Street to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

There is currently only a two-block stretch with the name East South Street, which runs between South Second Street and South Fourth Street. The remainder of the road heading east is already named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

East South Street property owners were invited to come to the council’s meeting Monday night, with a few people speaking during the public hearing.

Charles Ross, who lives on East South Street, was against the name change due to “it’s historical significance for when the city was laid out.”

He already emailed city clerk Paulette Bowers asking for a continuance on the issue because he wanted an opportunity to contact other property owners to gauge their thoughts before the council passed the motion.

Tym Scott was for the name change because it was a good way to honor King, “who marched for civil rights and nonviolence,” Scott said. He felt King’s name was being slighted by having one block with his name and another block on the same street with another name.

Jennifer Winn didn’t attend the meeting but emailed the council that the name change would be a great idea. She has property on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive as well as East South Street and the name change would make things “much easier.”

“It just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Scott added.

Councilman Dexter Townsend offered a motion to rename the corner of South Fourth Street all the way down to South Second Street to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

Townsend said the different names of the same street “serves as a visual barrier between the black and the white community” and “sends the wrong message as the city is growing.”

Councilman Chris Bramlett said though he would vote for the motion, he was “very disappointed to lose the identity of South Second Street” because it was part of the city’s original layout.

The council unanimously passed the renaming motion.

The next council meeting will be April 1.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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