Residents celebrate after board votes to remove second R in Forrest Avenue

Some believe the second R was meant to honor Confederate General and first Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest

Residents celebrate after board votes to remove second R in Forrest Avenue

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - What’s in a name, or in this case, a street name? For one group who lives on Forrest Avenue, it says a lot.

Neighbors in Midtown, Binghampton and Berclair are celebrating after successfully lobbying to change the name of their street.

What was Forrest Avenue with two R’s is now Forest Avenue with one R.

It might seem like a small change, but it made a big difference to a small group of people who've spent months trying to change the name.

“We feel happy!” said Forrest Avenue resident Shannon Dixon.

Thursday, the Shelby County Land Use Control Board approved the spelling change of Forrest Avenue from two R’s to one. Dixon says the street was originally spelled with one R but changed in the 1920 to two R’s for an unknown reason.

Some believe the change was meant to honor the Confederate General and first Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose statue was removed from a Memphis park in 2017.

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“What is important to me and my teammates is that it's about perception,” Dixon said. “We don't want people to perceive that we're honoring a slave trader.”

Completing the tedious application took more than a year. The group enlisted the help of University of Memphis graduate student Aubrey Toldi studying city and regional planning to complete the paperwork.

“It kept getting shot back, and ‘you need to tweak this, tweak that,’ just little tiny details,” Toldi said.

Only one Land Use Control Board member voted against changing the name, Margaret Pritchard.

“This really is just a case of politically correct,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard says the street name has been the same for 107 years and should stay the same to honor history.

“We really don't know why it was changed to begin with,” Pritchard said. “We really don't. It's sort of ridiculous.”

Dixon and her group who live on Forrest are celebrating.

“I’m super happy that I can spell it with one R now and I know these guys feel the same,” Dixon said.

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