- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Riviera Beach City Council in South Florida voted Wednesday to rename Old Dixie Highway after President Obama, following residents’ concerns that “Old Dixie” represents America’s racist past.

“I got a little worried for a minute, because we didn’t seem at first to have the majority,” said Mayor Thomas Masters, who proposed the change. He argued that “Old Dixie” still “invokes memories of racism and slavery in the Old South.”

The reaction was mixed on changing the name during Wednesday’s meeting, a local NBC affiliate reported. Some argued it would symbolize an inspiring new chapter in the predominantly black neighborhood. Others took issue with naming the road after President Obama, because they believe he hasn’t done anything to help the struggling community.

“What we do we have to show for Barack Obama on Old Dixie?” asked one Riviera Beach woman who said she’s lived in the area since the ‘60s, NBC reported.

Her concern was echoed by Chair Dawn Pardo and two other residents who spoke and said the area is full of blight, NBC reported.

“It makes you want to cry because it could be better than what is it,” another resident said.

Still, the mayor argued the change was necessary to move the community in a united direction, the station reported.

Four out of five council members voted yes to naming the highway President Barack Obama Highway.

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