Florida Road Loses 'Old Dixie' Moniker, Renamed President Barack Obama Highway
A highway within the borders of a Florida city has officially been changed from Old Dixie Highway to President Barack Obama Highway.
The new sign was hung in Riviera Beach outside West Palm Beach on Thursday, when the town's mayor gathered alongside an emotional crowd to celebrate the change.
"(The street is) symbolic of racism, symbolic of the clan, symbolic of cross burnings and today we are stepping up to a new day, a new era..." Mayor Thomas Masters told WPTV.
The old street name was also more than simply sybomlic. Attendee Dora Johnson on Thursday recalled seeing Ku Klux Klansmen carry a buring cross on Old Dixie Highway decades ago.
"I'm over-happy, I'm over happy," she told WPTV.
The city council in Riviera Beach, a town of around 30,000, voted in August to remove the sign.
Months earlier, a horrific shooting in a black church in South Carolina ignited a national debate over the public display of Confederate symbols such as the rebel flag and Civil War monuments honoring Confederate heroes.
According to Mayor Masters, his town's is the only street Obama's name in America and places the present at a crossroads with another notable figure.
The intersection is now "...where Doctor Martin Luther King Junior and his son, President Barack Obama will shake hands together," the mayor said.