Prichard Mayor addresses renaming street to Black Live Matter Street

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PRICHARD, Ala. (WKRG) — A ceremony to rename a street in Prichard “Black Lives Matter” Street has been halted after the mayor said a few council members moved forward with a plan before it was finalized. The mayor tells News 5’s Amber Grigley he supports renaming the street, but it must be done the right way.

“The only thing I received was a flyer the day of, a few hours before starting the time, the date and what was taking place,” said Councilwoman Samantha Richardson.

Richardson said she along with a few other council members and the mayor received a flyer just hours prior to a ceremony set to rename Meaher avenue to Black Lives Matter Street.

“There’s nothing seriously wrong with that, but you just don’t go and honorarily change a name to a street and make it permanent. There’s a process for that,” said Mayor Jimmie Gardner.

Mayor Gardner said he started the conversation nearly three weeks ago about renaming Lovejoy Loop and permanently renaming other streets. A suggestion to rename Meaher Avenue, a street named after Timothy Meaher, a slave owner who owned the Clotilda ship was discussed during that time as well.

Fast forward to last Tuesday during the city council meeting, council members voted and approved a motion to rename various streets. But they were just in the beginning stages with a lengthy process ahead to make this plan final.

Councilman Lorenzo Martin said he along with some other council members felt that it was appropriate to make this announcement Sunday, ending the weekend of Juneteenth celebrations.

“Maybe the mayor had a different thought of what he would do. But the Council President and myself and a few other council members felt very strongly felt that it was appropriate to let the citizens know what we had made a decision on,” Martin said.

Mayor Gardner said the renaming of the street will happen and will be handled properly.

“Over the next few weeks there will be some discussion and maybe we can come up with a plan in which direction we can go in,” said Mayor Gardner.

A statement sent to Grigley from Council President Derrick “DI” Griffin said in part, “The street dedication will take place on August 1, 2020, at 10 am pending the completion of street paving and beautification projects.”

Under the current climate, we can not continue to idealize people that have had a negative impact on black lives.

Timothy Meaher owned the slaveship Clotilda. When he smuggled enslaved persons into the United States, slavery was illegal and he committed a crime.

Timothy Meaher’s crimes against the United States of America and against humanity have impacted the history and trajectory of the Africa Town community. Criminals do not deserve to be honored.

The street renaming will not change the wealth of the Meaher family, but will honor citizens who have made a positive impact in our community as a whole.

The street dedication will take place on August 1, 2020 at 10am pending the completion of street paving and beautification projects.

Council President
Derrick ”DI” Griffin
District 3

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