Hollywood begins to remove Confederate names from street signs

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - The City of Hollywood has begun to change the names of Confederate generals from street signs in the area.

Crews began removing the signs for the streets named after Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Bell Hood, Tuesday.

All three were generals for the Confederacy, and Forrest was also the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

The city said two of the streets have already been replaced with new names, and all of the signs on Lee Street will be replaced by the end of April.

The new street names are Freedom, Hope and Liberty.

“Oh, I just love it,” said Louise Hilson who lives on Hope Street. “I think that’s the best name that someone could have come up with, ‘Hope Street,’ and I love it.”

Getting to this point was a bumpy road, after activists began the push to change the street signs in 2015. Since then, people protested and hourslong meetings have been held at city hall.

The formal application to change the street names was submitted last June. A vote took place in November.

“Part of it is they actually have to fabricate the new street signs, so they’re fabricating the Liberty Street signs right now, and then those will be installed in place of the Lee Street sign,” said Raelin Storey with the City of Hollywood.

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said the new signs display a message that is “a lot better than the message the prior names were sending.”

“There is Hope. We do have Freedom and Liberty, and it’s just nice,” said Hollywood resident Linda Hill Anderson.

7News spoke with activist Benjamin Israel, who started the push for change years ago. He said this is a step in the right direction.

“There’s a sense of satisfaction. I’m a low-key type of person, and there’s much more work to be done, so I can’t get too excited about this,” he said.

“There’s an attitude out there. This is part of what we’re trying to change – that it’s not OK,” said one woman. “It’s disheartening and it’s upsetting, but I think this kind of work is what changes attitudes.”

The City of Hollywood said they are working with the Department of Motor Vehicles to help residents living on those streets change their licenses for free.

Those residents can get their free license replacement on the following dates and locations:

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.