Donor pays Montgomery’s $25K fine for dropping Confederate name from street sign

The City of Montgomery is mulling other street name changes despite the possibility of more fines
The Montgomery City Council voted in 2021 to rename Jeff Davis Avenue to Fred D. Gray Avenue,...
The Montgomery City Council voted in 2021 to rename Jeff Davis Avenue to Fred D. Gray Avenue, a decision that prompted the state to fine the city for violating the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017.(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 2:45 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - An anonymous donor has agreed to pay a fine on behalf of the City of Montgomery for violating the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed announced Tuesday during a city council meeting that the unidentified donor agreed to pay the fine in full and “assist the city as necessary” in the future.

In October, the city renamed Jefferson Davis Avenue for famed Civil Rights attorney Fred D. Gray, who represented Rosa Parks and other civil rights figures during his career. Gray grew up on the street, which was previously named for the Confederate president.

Following the renaming, the Alabama attorney general’s office fined the city $25,000 for violating the controversial state law, which protects Confederate monuments and other memorials from being moved or altered.

Reed said Tuesday the city would not only pay the fine, but that it will also pay future fines as it begins the process of potentially renaming other streets, which would run afoul of the law.

Reed previously tasked a committee of historians, professors, and community advocates to consider potential streets, parks and other public venues that merit a name change. The committee has since suggested the following streets be renamed:

  • Clanton Ave.
  • Calhoun Street
  • Cortez Street
  • Jefferson Street (East and West)
  • De Soto Street
  • Early Street
  • Jackson Street
  • Lee Street
  • Wallace Drive (North and South)
  • Yancey Ave.

According to the committee, the removal of street names is designed to adjust public acknowledgment and recognition of a person’s influence and values. The committee also included a list of 12 individuals who they believe deserve having a street named in their honor:

  • Ralph David Abernathy
  • Johnnie Rebecca Carr
  • Nat King Cole
  • Virginia and Clifford Durr
  • Fred Gray
  • Vernon Johns
  • Percy Julian
  • John Lewis
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Mary Ann Neeley
  • Jo Ann Robinson
  • Solomon Seay Jr.

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