AUSTIN, TX – Cheyenne Weaver grew up in Austin. After living in the northern part of the city for a while, she moved back to the area near the city center. However, she feels that a street near her home, Confederate Street, does not reflect community values in 2022.
“I was appalled that it was something that still existed. I don’t want to be part of a community that wants to honor the confederation,” she said.
Weaver started a petition that garnered a lot of support from her neighbors. He even caught the eye of Austin City Council member Kathie Tovo.
“We’ve heard a lot of support for this name change, including from a resident who lives down the street and wants a name that better reflects both the black community that lived, founded and thrived in Clarksville, as well as more representative of the diversity of our city,” Tovo said.
Council approved a resolution Thursday to begin the name change process. The name that will replace Confederate will be Maggie Mayes, an African-American educator living in the freed community of Clarksville, located in present-day West Austin.
“She was someone who lived in Clarksville, she was a citywide leader but worked in Clarksville. She started the first school in Clarksville,” Tovo said.
“They didn’t give up and accept that they lost the Civil War. They’re still fighting the Civil War here, and it’s time we put that behind us,” said Sabino Renteria, of Austin City Council, District three.
Weaver believes in learning our history, but also the context. She believes the confederation should be remembered, but not honoured.
“Words really matter. Words have the power to convey values and convey who we are as a community,” she said.
City Council will finalize the measure at an upcoming council meeting, before formalizing the change.
Austin City Council votes to rename Confederate Avenue in honor of Maggie Mayes
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