A proposal to
rename create an honorary avenue along a 0.7 mile stretch of 19th Ave and 19th Ave E to honor a longtime leader of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 19th and Madison was announced by two members of the Seattle City Council late Wednesday night.
The proposed Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue would run between E Union and Republican, crossing E Madison by the church where McKinney was honored earlier this month for his 45 years of service.
UPDATE: Council member Tom Rasmussen clarifies the proposal:
I am receiving e-mails opposing the honorary sign. Because of what people are writing I think there is a misunderstanding! This is an “honorary sign”. This is not a name change of 19th Avenue that requires map changes and all of that.
There is a “Gerard Schwarz Way” sign on top of the University Street sign at the corner of Second Avenue outside Benaroya Hall. It is different than the green street signs and does not cause confusion. Given our experience with streets such as University Street, an honorary sign is unlikely to create confusion.
If you have a chance to view the Schwarz sign you will see what I am referring to. I anticipate the Seattle Department of Transportation will create the same kind of honorary sign to honor Rev. Dr. McKinney.
The area the street passes through was historically within the city’s black district where many African Americans raised families and built lives in eras of redlining and economic and cultural segregation in the city. Today, the area encompasses a steadily changing mix of community facilities, new developments and old homes and is still home to many African American Seattleites. Mt. Zion’s large campus itself is set to join the continued changes as it prepares plans for a redevelopment of its property at the 19th and Madison intersection.
By the way, extending the proposal one block north to E Mercer would connect the honorary avenue to longtime black-owned Seattle restaurant, the Kingfish Cafe.
View Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue in a larger map
While it is a logistical investment and could create confusion for navigation systems and lost tourists, Seattle has honored civic leaders and popular figures with honorary street names in the past. One example is Edgar Martinez Way near Safeco Field. Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue — SBM Ave? McKinney Ave? — will join Martin Luther King Jr. Way about 12 blocks away in honoring significan black leaders.
The City Council announcement for the proposal is below.
Councilmembers Harrell and Rasmussen call community meeting on Street name change to honor Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney
SEATTLE – Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Tom Rasmussen announced the first of two public meetings to hear public feedback on plans to name sections of 19th Avenue after Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney.
Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee stated, “I am very pleased to listen to members of the community who began the dialogue about honoring Rev. Dr. McKinney. For over 40 years, he has been a civil rights leader, as well as a minister who has positively influenced all of Seattle. Rev. McKinney has been the conscience of our city and has made a lasting mark on race and social justice issues. Rev. McKinney and his late wife, Louise, have made a lasting impact on 19th Avenue in Seattle and beyond.”
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, stated, “Seattle should honor Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, and I support Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s proposal for the honorary designation of ‘Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue’ on 19th Avenue between E. Union and E. Republican Streets.”
Rasmussen continued, “Rev. Dr. McKinney has dedicated his life to his church and community. He is a man of many achievements, serving as one of the original members of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, lecturing and teaching at colleges around the nation and opening a church-run Credit Union which strived to assist community members who were unable to open bank accounts and conduct financial transactions in traditional banks. I hope to see his legacy live on through the years.”
The first of two community meetings is scheduled for today at 3:00 p.m..
WHAT: Community Meeting on Honorary Street Name Change of 19th Avenue
WHEN: TODAY — Thursday, May 9, 2013, at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122
WHO: Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Ø Link to Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney’s biography: http://www.historylink.org/