DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Throughout Dallas, city streets pay tribute to civil rights icons like Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Malcolm X.
Now, councilman Dwaine Caraway is looking to add another. “Oh, absolutely it’s time to honor Mandela,” he said.
The District 4 councilman Wednesday asked city staff to begin the process of renaming a portion of Lancaster Road to honor Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Prize winner who successfully ended apartheid in South Africa and later became the country’s first black president.
“Lancaster Road has the Veteran’s Hospital, has the Urban League, has the Barack Obama School—it runs down the center of the heart of the southern sector.”
Caraway is proposing renaming Lancaster Road from Illinois and Corinth to Interstate-20.
“I think that’s a very positive thing because of what Nelson Mandela stood for,” said resident Harold Owens, while enjoying lunch at a Lancaster Road restaurant. “And anytime you can put something up positive that people can see and relate to, it’s a good thing.”
Caraway said he has considered the cost associated with a potential name change. But, said there are so many small businesses along the roadway, that he believes the financial impact should be minimal.
Some business owners are all for the city recognition. “I think it’s wonderful, I would love for it to be changed,” said Loquita Record, owner of Record’s Barbecue. The family restaurant has held down a busy corner on Lancaster Road since 1969.
Owner Record said the street name is a change that she’d welcome—regardless of cost. “With all of the black businesses that are in this area… it’s time.”
Caraway plans to ask the largest stakeholders on the street to support the name change. And while that may not be possible—at least they won’t oppose it.
A spokesperson for the VA Hospital told CBS 11 News Wednesday that, “as a federal agency, VA North Texas Health Care System must remain neutral in City of Dallas business.”
The Dallas Independent School District also declined to weigh in on the name change. But, Record had plenty to say—namely, how soon could the new signs go up? “Today, if it’s possible,” she insisted with a chuckle.
Councilman Caraway has asked staff to move with urgency.
“I’m going to be asking my council-members to please be in support as we move through this process, and I want the process to move as swiftly as possible,” said Caraway addressing the council. “It leaves a legacy in the heart of the southern sector.”
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