Choose another street to rename in King’s honor
The issue of renaming Hamilton Street for Dr. Martin Luther Kinghas struck a sour note with many residents who currently reside onHamilton Street. The city board recently voted unanimously for thename change. The idea was submitted to them by Mrs. Polly Byrd. Theboard was told by Mrs. Byrd that she contacted many of theresidents on Hamilton Street and they agreed and supported the namechange. I did not agree with the name change for several reasons,so I set out to ask other residents if they had been contacted byanyone for their opinion on the matter. It turns out that themajority had not been contacted and didn’t know how the idea evencame about. Some say they didn’t know about it until they read itin the newspaper. In fact, they were insulted and furious that ouralderman in Ward One voted and passed the proposal without theirconsent.
As I said before, I have my own reasons why I did not want ourstreet to be named after Dr. Martin Luther King. Now I want you tothoroughly understand that we give honor to all the things that Dr.Martin Luther King did for all people, and we would never frown onhis accomplishments. In fact, that is one of the main reasons whywe don’t think Hamilton Street should be changed to his name. Ialso want you to know that our residents love our street and knowthat it would be an honor to be renamed after him, but the crime,drugs and years of financial neglect by the city board makes itundeserving of his name. Unfortunately, our alderman, DorseyCameron, took it upon himself to vote yes on this renaming issue,which is clearly not what the residents wanted.
The question should be “Is Hamilton Street worthy of his name?”I feel that Dr. King’s name should have the respect that itdeserves. Many residents and nonresidents agree that his nameshould be placed on a street or boulevard that has significance inthe city of Brookhaven. I shouldn’t have to remind anyone that Dr.King was for all people. His dedication to civil rights andequality has benefited people of every sex, race, creed and color.Understanding this leads me to question why our aldermen didn’tsuggest renaming a street or boulevard that all citizens wouldtravel, like First Street, Monticello Street of Brookway Boulevard.Hamilton is not a street traveled by all citizens or would-betourists that visit our city. This fact alone proves the streetrenaming would only be for the immediate residents, which would notfully pay tribute to his name for his many accomplishments.
Most residents are curious why they chose Hamilton Street, whichis the last major street before you reach the eastern city limits.This makes us wonder why it was proposed to be put on the laststreet, in the black neighborhood, as far away as possible from thedowntown general public. They are also aware that Brookhaven isquickly growing and expanding in the direction of Highway 51 northand south, Highway 84 east and west and basically on the west sideof town inside and outside the city limits. This outward growth isnot only neglecting the east side of town, but it will also deepenthe proposed street to be renamed Dr. Martin Luther King fartherfrom Brookhaven’s general public. If it is a must to rename ourstreet, there are several names that come to mind that we couldhonor. There’s Dr. A.L. Lott, C.O. Tanner, Mrs. Fannie L. Mullins,Dr. A.A. Alexander, Mr. John Dow, Mr. J.W. Morgan, Dr. MarilynDow-Harris, Principal LeVander German and many others.
The board should take this tribute seriously and choose torename a more noteworthy street in the city of Brookhaven after Dr.King and prove to not only the black citizens but all citizens thattheir initial intentions were genuine towards him.
In summation, Mrs. Byrd’s idea of the name change may have beenfor a good reason, but it’s not a good idea.
Eli’Sa Corley Jr.,
Editor’s note: Mr. Corley is a candidate for alderman inWard One.