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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A Pair of Recent Name Changes Reveals Pure Stupidity of Left’s Historical Revisionism

'Some people... didn’t even see having this discussion was needed. But the more you hear the stories, you realize that there was an unresolved trauma there that needed to be addressed...'

(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) For 15 years, Democrats in Charlotte fretted over the fact that some of the city’s major thoroughfares appeared to be named after Confederate generals.

That included one of its major arteries, Stonewall Street, which notably greeted NFL fans as they exited the city’s light-rail system en route to the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium.

In 2006, debate first arose about changing the name to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. instead. However, nobody at the time could prove that the offending street was, as suspected, named after Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, mastermind of its Shenandoah Valley campaign, who would go on to lose his life to friendly fire during the chaotic Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.

“As the city council was considering the name change in 2006, local historian Dan Morrill mused to The Charlotte Observer that perhaps the street was named for an actual stone wall that was part of nearby railroad tracks or St. Catherine’s gold mine, where Bank of America stadium now sits,” WFAE reported in 2017.

Morrill pointed to an 1855 map that referenced the street, prior to Jackson having been given his nickname “standing like a stone wall” during the Battle of Manassas. However, a local librarian said the map was a copy and that the name might have been added after the fact.

It was not until 11 years after the debate began that local historians finally coughed up what they claimed were a page from the handwritten minutes of a City Council meeting dated June 26, 1869, when local officials named Stonewall Street along with streets honoring Gens. Robert E. Lee and A.P. Hill—along with Zebulon Vance, who was North Carolina’s Confederate-era governor.

Still, a 2015 state law enacted during one of the first waves of anti-Confederate cancel culture, prevented them from changing the names or removing monuments without the permission of the N.C. Historical Commission.

Leftists ultimately succeeded in toppling the law following the frenzied waves of fervor that exploited events like the 2017 Charlottesville riot and the 2020 death of George Floyd to push so-called social justice causes through violence and vandalism.

The city approved a “Legacy Commission” to rename nine streets in February 2021, and in June 2022, Stonewall Street became the last of those.

“In order to move forward in unity, I think it is clear that we needed to dismantle the symbols of racism that still existed in Charlotte,” said Mayor Vi Lyles, who is black, according to Spectrum News. “I take pride in the fact that we are now focusing on the positive and renaming this important city street to pay tribute to the thriving neighborhood that was once located in this area.”

Nonetheless, some pointed to the cost that the city would be subjecting taxpayers—both residents and businesses to—for such a vanity project.

“We need to have an orderly process to look into renaming Stonewall Street, while taking into consideration the number of business that would be financially impacted by that name change,” state Sen. Joel Ford said in 2017.

The new name, Brooklyn Village Avenue, reportedly honored a black community that thrived until the 1950s and ’60s, when urbanization displaced its residents. Attached to the renaming was a proposed $683 million redevelopment project for the area that would incorporate “restorative justice” principles into its planning.

“Some people didn’t see an apology was needed,” said Rev. Willie Keaton, chair of the restorative justice group and pastor at Mt. Olive Presbyterian Church, according to the Charlotte Observer.

“They didn’t even see having this discussion was needed,” he continued. “But the more you hear the stories, you realize that there was an unresolved trauma there that needed to be addressed.”

For most visitors, of course, the new name will be as puzzling as the last, with the assumption being that it is named after the New York City borough that has, itself, recently been gentrified.

And that isn’t the only change taking place in the Big Apple. According to the Associated Press, the state Legislature approved a bill Wednesday directing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to change the name of the Christopher Street–Sheridan Square subway station in Greenwich Village.

The goal was to celebrate the neighborhood’s robust LGBT heritage. The new name will retain the Christopher Street identifier, which honors one of Manhattan’s original landowners.

The street has become strongly associated with annual gay-pride festivals, according to podcasters the Bowery Boys in a 2008 history.

“[T]he thousands-strong Pride Parade every June ends here every year, while over in Europe (specifically major cities in Germany), their annual celebration is actually called Christopher Street Day,” the article noted. “But the Christopher of Christopher Street would most likely be scandalized to learn the how his name is being used.”

Meanwhile, the new subway station will lose the “Sheridan,” which honors Union Gen. Philip Sheridan. Following the death of Jackson, Sheridan was the opposing general who prevailed in the Shenandoah Valley campaign against Confederate Gen. Jubal Early, using scorched-earth tactics to destroy much of the region’s infrastructure, including a key railroad supply line.

Instead, the station will “be renamed to commemorate the Stonewall riots that galvanized the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement,” the AP reported.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman–Sigal, who sponsored the legislation, took to social media to celebrate this win for not just the LGBT community but the broader social justice movement.

The city also plans to celebrate the 1969 riot, which followed a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, by opening up the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center next door to the historic national landmark. It will be the National Park Service’s first such center focused on LGBTQ+ history.

Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/realbensellers.

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