This is a story I've been following for a while: some people in Tulsa would like to change the name of Brady Street because Tate Brady, for whom the street was named back in 1907, played a role in the racial violence in that city around the time of the Tulsa riot of 1921. Cribbing now from a previous post:
I'm generally skeptical of name changes -- in large part because I think that facilitates forgetting. But the current residents have, I suppose, as much say in this matter as the people who did the initial naming -- and we need to look carefully at what was known when the initial naming took place and who had a say in the naming. And I think it makes sense to take some measure of how we think about the person honored with a name now. On that score, Tate Brady has fared less well than some. I began a short commentary, "Tate Brady, The Magic City, and the Dreamland," on Chapman's extensive work a couple years back in this way:
Tate Brady, as Lee Roy Chapman points out, did a lot of good for Tulsa, but the positives came with lots of negatives. It is the tragedy of this story that building the city of Tulsa involved violence. In Brady’s case, it was violence against workers and African Americans. Therein lies a story we hear much about in American history at this time.
The Tulsa city council was all set to vote on this yesterday, but after it was clear that they were tied they postponed the vote for another week so a member of the council who's on vaction could come back to vote. I guess we'll know in a week that outcome of yet another skirmish over how we treat our collective past.
I have some more thoughts on the factors to consider when renaming a building (or street) or otherwise removing a monument in the law and morality of building renaming, which was inspired by Tom Russell's advocacy of renaming a building on the UT-Austin campus.