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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Chicago alder proposes renaming street after Obama
2024-03-22

This article shared 6071 times since Fri Mar 22, 2024
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Openly gay Black Chicago Ald. Lamont Robinson has proposed renaming Columbus Drive after former U.S. President and city resident Barack Obama, media outlets noted.

The street stretches through the Loop from East Grand Avenue to DuSable Lake Shore Drive, which itself was renamed in 2021, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

"We made history here, and we need to make history again, by honoring our Black president, first Black president, in President Barack Obama," Robinson said during his City Council proposal on March 20.

However, there is controversy around Robinson's proposal—particularly among the city's Italian American community, in honor of whom Columbus Drive was named during the 1933 World's Fair. Italian American groups continue to legally contest the 2020 removal of Christopher Columbus statues from Columbus Drive and two other locations around the city in the wake of the national outcry over the murder of George Floyd and fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.

A statement from Robinson's office sent to Windy City Times reads as follows:

""Renaming Columbus Drive to Barack Obama Drive is a way to honor the legacy of the first Black president of the United States and a 4th Ward resident, from his beginnings as a community organizer to his historic election night celebration in Grant Park, steps away from Columbus Drive. [This] is the significance of renaming Columbus Drive to Barack Obama Drive.

"This will cement a new tourist destination to increase Chicago tourism as a historic landmark where Black history was made. This is our opportunity as a city to give him his flowers while he's still alive and recognize his journey that has inspired millions, including myself, to believe that anything is possible.

"We need to honor more Black men, and this is one small way we can do that. As the saying goes, 'If you can see it, you can be it,' and Chicago's children deserve to see that they too can become Black history. As a world-class city with history as rich as ours, we should prioritize honoring influential world leaders who also happen to have a 606 in their home zip code."

—Andrew Davis


This article shared 6071 times since Fri Mar 22, 2024
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