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Florida City Wipes Confederate Names Off Streets

The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee sits at the center of the park formerly dedicated to him, the site of recent violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. August 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstThe statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee sits at the center of the park formerly dedicated to him, the site of recent violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. August 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Officials in a Florida city voted unanimously Wednesday to rename three streets named after Confederate generals.

Hollywood, Fla., city commissioners voted 6-0 to rename streets named after Robert E. Lee, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and John Bell Hood, opting instead to name the streets Liberty, Freedom, and Hope, reported the Sun-Sentinel.

“The citizen-driven request for these streets to be re-named has been going on for a number of years,” Kevin Biederman, one of the city’s seven commissioners, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Those street names were reflective of a divisive historical age, which does not represent the values we hold in the City of Hollywood.”

Richard Blattner, another commissioner, told TheDCNF that, “while a minority,” residents aggrieved by the street names “needed to be heard.”

“While we recognized that the majority of residents on the three streets, about 1500 would clearly not like to have the names changed, we were able to determine that both public safety and the post office would always know where they were; and that dual names were fine,” Blattner told TheDCNF.

Activists praised the city’s decision, that comes amidst a slew of decisions across the country to rename Confederate schools and remove Confederate statues. (RELATED: New Orleans Uproots Third Confederate Statue In Early Morning Operation)

“I want to thank you commissioners for doing the right thing,” activist Benjamin Israel said to commissioners, reported the Sun-Sentinel. “This is for future generations. Twenty years from now, I won’t be here.”

“Thank you for moving this forward,” said Linda Anderson, Liberia’s Civic Association president. “It’s been over 15 years trying to make this change. I hope this is the last time I come before you to ask for this change.”

Hollywood was required to obtain both five of the seven commission votes, as well as the permission of two-thirds of property owners on each street in order to rename them. The streets named after Forrest and Hood wind through the primarily black section of Hollywood.

“I’m very proud that the Commission decided that the thing to do for our community was to change the street names and the issue was very well thought out, as we reached out to other elected representatives and consideration was given to all variables including minimizing the financial impact to residents and business owners,” Biederman told TheDCNF.

One city commissioner, Peter Hernandez, abstained from voting, claiming each street’s residents should have had authority over the name change.

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This post has been updated to include comments from a Hollywood city commissioner. 

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