- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

HOUSTON (AP) - A Houston street named after a Confederate officer will be renamed Emancipation Avenue.

The Houston City Council on Wednesday approved changing the name of Dowling Street in the historic and predominantly black Third Ward. Richard “Dick” Dowling was a businessman and Confederate commander in the Civil War.

The street leads to Emancipation Park. The site originally was the only municipal park available to black residents, who pooled their money in 1872 to buy the property to celebrate their freedom from slavery.

Texas Rep. Garnet Coleman pushed for the name change more than a year ago. While the council unanimously approved the name change, At Large Councilman Mike Knox brought up some of Dowling’s accomplishments unrelated to his position as a Confederate officer to gain “a full understanding of the entire history.”

“I’m not going to sit here and allow you to glorify him,” Mayor Sylvester Turner told Knox. “The reason we’re changing the street is because Emancipation Park is on that street and it’s consistent with what we’ve done with Memorial and Hermann.”

The renaming to Emancipation Avenue will coincide with marking the redevelopment of Emancipation Park, which is undergoing $33 million in renovations. Ceremonies will be part of Juneteenth, a celebration commemorating the abolition of slavery.

On June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston to declare Texas slaves free. It was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

“We know today that Dowling Street is no longer Dowling Street; it’s Emancipation Avenue now, and we salute all those people involved in the process,” SHAPE Community Center director Deloyd Parker said. “Ain’t no power like the power of the masses, and the masses spoke today. We’re really excited about it.”




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