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Proposed Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue would connect CD, Hill to honor Mt. Zion pastor

SMcKinney_1_jpg (1)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.

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 9.33.38 AMThe first of two public meetings on the proposed change honor is slated for Wednesday afternoon. We’re checking to find out the status of scheduling the second meeting.

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/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=152

Ø  Email your support for renaming portions of 19th Avenue (East Union to East Republican Streets) to [email protected] or [email protected]

 

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15 Comments
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Ryan
Ryan
9 years ago

Certiainly a worthy proposal. However, I really wish they would rename the entire stretch of 19th instead of only a few blocks. Having multiple names for one street will cause confusion.

Buckmasta
Buckmasta
9 years ago

Not to mention the 19th Avenue Lofts… what are we supposed to call ourselves, “The Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue Lofts”?

TWCB
TWCB
9 years ago

The intersection of (no pun intended) Church and State.

Matt
Matt
9 years ago

Horrible idea. You want to honor this man by confusing people? Name a park after him. Just a few blocks of a street isn’t much of an honor and really will just make addresses around there difficult to find.

Sean
Sean
9 years ago

If this truly is a strictly honorary renaming of a section of the street while retaining its current name, I’m all for it. But it’s a horrible idea to officially rename a small section of street like that.

Jay
Jay
9 years ago

Maybe it’d be an appropriate honor to designate just the corner of Madison and E 19th as “Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Square.”

In Los Angeles, at the corner of Fairfax and Beverly, is a similarly designated “Raoul Wallenberg Square.”

In both cases, the long-running streets just keep their names, to avoid creating new street identity complications.

Tom Rasmussen
9 years ago

Friends at the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog:

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.

Ryan
Ryan
9 years ago

Thank you Councilman. This clarification was definitely needed.

Benjamin Lukoff
9 years ago

I am all in favor of this honorary naming, but why the “Rev. Dr.” part? Mary Gates, Royal Brougham, Edgar Martinez, Dave Niehaus, Gerard Schwarz, Roberto Maestas — none of them have a title on their streets. Neither does Martin Luther King. Let’s not start a precedent here.

Carter Wickstrom
Carter Wickstrom
9 years ago

I’m with Luke on this. By all means, rename the street – but the Rev. Dr. is unnecessary – and, perhaps, unprecedented.

Carter Wickstrom
Carter Wickstrom
9 years ago

D’oh! Ben, not Luke.

Benjamin Lukoff
9 years ago

That’s OK; happens a lot :) And yes, the “Rev. Dr.” bit is unprecedented in this city.

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[…] The process to create an honorary Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue running along 19th Ave between E Union and E Republican connecting the Central District and Capitol Hill moves forward this week with the second of two public meetings on the proposed designation. […]

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[…] The process to create an honorary Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue running along 19th Ave between E Union and E Madison connecting the Central District and Capitol Hill moves forward this week with the second of two public meetings on the proposed designation. […]