Petersburg residents split over proposal to rename streets after African Americans

The Tri-Cities

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — City leaders are moving to honor four prominent African-Americans whose lives are intertwined with Petersburg. 

They hope to change the names of four streets: 

  • Johnson Road & High Pearl Street for late NBA superstar Moses Malone
  • North Carolina Avenue to Roger Gregory Way, the first African American appellate judge appointed to the federal court by presidents of two different parties
  • Harding Street would become Ricky Hunley, honoring a former NFL player
  • Both New and Porterville Streets would be renamed in honor of Petersburg’s first African American mayor and the first African American mayor in Virginia, Hermanze Fauntleroy. 

Councilor Treska Wilson-Smith proposed the idea. 

“We are not doing enough to preserve and promote the African American history experience in Petersburg, Virginia.” 

Some locals, like Denise Tipson, say the city should shift its focus on other pressing matters.

“Worry about the buildings that are falling down and the streets that need fixing,” Tipson said, “and the water.” 

“We don’t just want to rename streets Willy Nilly, it’s not like that,” Wilson-Smith said. “All of these names and those streets chosen have a great significance.”

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