Street naming compromise is needed

Published 7:55pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The most recent discussion over renaming a street in Selma brings to question whether any previously named street should be changed.

If the street bears the name of a pioneer or person of historical significance to the city, why would you change it? After the problem encountered in naming a generically — of no historical significance — named bridge for Selma’s one and only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Commander Howard W. Gilmore, I had decided not to weigh in on any other naming issues in this city. However, it is difficult not to when reasoning and consideration for all of Selma’s history is not respected.

Granted, changing a long-standing street name is not the same issue as the bridge naming. As far as the bridge, I chose a feature that bore no one’s name. Therefore, it would not require changing from a pioneer name or one of the other historical significant entities of Selma. It is a stand-alone monument that only a portion of residents will pass over in any one-day’s time. No one lives on the bridge or under it, I would hope. Therefore, it would not require an address change or inconvenience for anyone. In addition, the creek will still be Valley Creek.

Renaming streets require address changes and some inconvenience for those affected households. Therefore, before changes in street names are made, all who are affected should have the opportunity to voice their support or opposition to the change.

As most would admit, there is a great divide in Selma, perhaps better described as a chasm. Try as we may, it seems to be unbridgeable. There are those in the community I know who are working feverishly trying to win Selma for Jesus Christ. I applaud their efforts and agree it is Selma’s best and perhaps only hope to come together as a community.

The bickering and disagreements are hampering Selma’s progress and marketability.

The differing factions so far as naming things are represented first by the pioneers of Selma who certainly are deserving of recognition and remembrance. Then, of course, the Civil War played a significant role in the development of Selma.

In addition, you can’t overlook WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, where Selma offered its men and women in great numbers —many paying with their lives —preserving freedom’s bounty for all.

In our most recent history, Selma became one of the focal points of the Civil Rights movement.

The dilemma comes in striking a balance between all the factions and preservationist in Selma’s storied past. It would seem there is room for all without disenfranchising any part of our history.

There is no doubt Mrs. Amelia Boynton is very deserving of recognition for her role in the Civil Rights movement. It is without question civil rights is a very important part of the city’s development and history. Perhaps a compromise could be reached by selecting some structure or object that has no historical connection to Selma other than age, or repairing her home for tours.

It may be good practice from this point forward to only name new things rather than trying to rename old things. However, I’ll leave the street name changes to those involved to figure out.

My concern over the past decade has been seeing that all veterans of Selma are recognized and not left out of the loop. This I will continue to do to the best of my ability without infringing on anyone else’s turf.

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