A black South Florida lawmaker said he was called racial epithets during a clash with constituents protesting the renaming of three streets within his district.
The streets are all within Hollywood, a town located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and are named after Confederate generals — John B. Hood, Nathan B. Forrest and Robert E. Lee.
It’s a clash that’s become all-too-common recently between preserving history and righting past wrongs.
Prior to the meeting Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat representing the area, tweeted:
In Hollywood, city officials have made it easier to change the name of its streets. They require the approval of residents who live on the streets that are named after Lee, Gen. John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the KKK. But many residents along Forrest, Hood and Lee streets say they don’t want the hassle of changing their addresses. So the names have remained, though Jones wants to persuade them to change.
“As an African-American man, these streets are named after a part of my history that I wish not to see,” Jones told POLITICO Florida. “In my city, I want to see the names of people who have contributed to the progress of the city — not the names of individuals who have raped and enslaved our ancestors.”
Jones reported that the streets named after Confederate generals are all located within a black section of Hollywood.Jones alleged that some time after he arrived to make his pitch to the city commission that he and others were called the “n-word” and “monkey” by protesters.
That would be disgusting if true, however, with all the shouting and screaming that went on before and even during the commissioner’s meeting, it’s difficult to make out what anyone is saying.
In 2010 U.S. Rep. John Lewis made a similar charge against a tea party member. The Georgia Democrat claimed that he was called the “n-word” at an event where cameras were rolling everywhere. The late Andrew Breitbart challenged Lewis and offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who could submit evidence of the racial slur.
No one came forward.