Legrande St. to be renamed F.D. Reese St.

Published 10:06 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A man instrumental in the Voting Rights movement in Selma who is still alive today will be honored with his own street in Selma after the city council unanimously approved the renaming.

Tuesday the council voted to rename the entire portion of Legrande Street, from J.L. Chestnut Boulevard to Fourth Avenue, F.D. Reese Street — named after a pastor who orchestrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s participation in Selma. F.D. Reese has been the pastor of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church for the last 48 years and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders to improve voter registration for blacks in Selma during the 1965 civil rights movement. Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church currently sits on Legrande Street.

Tuesday as all council members, with the exception of one member absent, voted unanimously to rename the street, which resulted in a standing ovation by those sitting in the council chambers.

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The family of Reese, some tearful, thanked the council for honoring Reese’s legacy.

Valerie Reese, F.D. Reese’s daughter thanked the council for honoring a man who was an educator, principal and someone who was responsible for Dr. Martin Luther King coming to Selma.

“Thank you for honoring one of the first African Americans on the Selma City Council who blazed the trail for those I see sitting here today,” Valerie said. “Thank you for honoring a man who was a pastor for almost 50 years in this community.”

The council, prior to approving the street be renamed, also approved a resolution to where they could forgo the last step in the street renaming process ,which was to have a survey conducted of all residents of Legrande Street and gather their opinions on the renaming.

The council had previously held a public hearing for residents and a petition was created for those that wanted to name change. The family of Reese also paid the required $1,000 fee for a street name change.

Ward 6 Councilman B.L. Tucker, a friend of Reese, encouraged the renaming from its inception. Tucker told council members Tuesday, as he made a motion for the vote, he believed in honoring people while they are still alive.

“My philosophy has always been that you give a man his flower while he is living,” Tucker said.

As for what comes next for residents of F.D. Reese Street, city attorney Jimmy Nunn told the Times-Journal previously that procedure calls for the city clerk to notify all residents, utilities and the U.S. Postal Service of the change. The public works department will evaluate the cost of changing all street signs.