21 Richmond trailblazers for people of color proposed for honorary street names

Updated: Mar. 11, 2019 at 7:01 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A well-known community advocate pushed to honor more than 20 trailblazers for people of color, before Richmond City Council, Monday night.

James ‘JJ’ Minor listed more 21 trailblazers who have broken down barriers for African Americans and other people of color in Richmond, beginning the process of creating honorary street names in their honor.

Minor says his proposal is to further the movement to balance Richmond's traditionally one-sided history.

"Richmond is changing. And if it's changing, we have to have a true balance of history,” said Minor.

Minor is also the president of the Richmond chapter of the NAACP. However, he says the honorary street name proposals are an individual effort. He says green space and buildings can also be considered.

In Richmond, street names, bridges, green spaces or even buildings can be given honorary names, if approved by city council. Last month, city council passed changing the name of the Boulevard to Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Minor’s effort wouldn't technically change any names, but rather add an honorary name. Minor says he’s been behind the majority of the honorary street names in the city, and this would expand the effort.

Some of the people included on the list are John Jasper, a slave from Fluvanna County, who went on to established the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, after the Emancipation Proclamation, becoming a revered preacher.

Dr. William Ferguson Reid is also named. Reid was the first African American elected to the Virginia Assembly and carries a deep legacy of fighting for Civil Rights.

"There really isn’t a true balance of history, and we definitely want our children to know exactly what happened,” said Minor.

The Richmond 34 is also listed, the a group of Virginia Union University students who were arrested during a sit-in at a lunch counter that wouldn’t serve them.

"(It’s about) reconciliation, change and how Richmond should move forward…and the Commonwealth should move forward,” said Minor.

Designating city blocks in honor of Richmonders who’ve made a significant impact started in 2015, when the first five African American city council members were given honorary streets.

Richmond City Council has to approve all honorary street names.

The full list of names Minor is pitching:

  • Tim Kaine
  • Amelia Lightner
  • Rosa Jones
  • Dr. William Ferguson Reid
  • Richmond 34
  • Richard and Bessie Jones
  • Geneva Austin
  • Marilyn Olds
  • Ben Ragsdale
  • John Jasper
  • Bob Argabright
  • Willard Douglas
  • Brenda Nichols
  • Richmond Harmonizing 4
  • Mary Bowser
  • Virginia Randolph
  • Mazie Robinson
  • Lonnie Liston Smith
  • D’Angelo
  • Zade Dotts
  • Pauline Hymes

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