Thursday, February 17, 2022

City Council Initiates Renaming Confederate Ave. to Honor Maggie Mayes

On Thursday February 17th, the Austin City Council voted to initiate renaming Confederate Avenue in honor of Maggie Mayes, who founded the freedmen community’s first school in Clarksville. Maggie Mayes’ commitment to the education of her community’s children fostered learning, literacy, and enhanced the quality of life for the community’s children and families.
 
Community members in the area led the effort, with support from the Old West Austin Neighborhood Association and others.

Council Member Kathie Tovo sponsored the renaming in response to past recommendations to remove or rename City-owned monuments and memorials with connections to the Confederacy.

The Council resolution was co-sponsored by Council Members Natasha Harper-Madison, Sabino “Pio” Renteria, Ann Kitchen and Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter.
 
Council Member Tovo said, “It is an honor to have the opportunity, especially during Black History Month, to contribute to the important work of undoing, brick by brick, systemic racism and institutional inequity in our City. And I’m excited that this street can be named after Maggie Mayes, a Black woman who had an immeasurable impact on our community.”
 
Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison said, “This is an overdue but absolutely welcome change that honors the memory of a great Black Austinite and the historic freedom community she played such an important role in. I am deeply appreciative of Council Member Tovo and the residents who worked collaboratively on this change, and I look forward to future steps we as a municipality will take to ensure the names of our public assets stop honoring our racist past and instead reflect our inclusive, progressive present and future.”
 
Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria said, “Having a street named Confederate Avenue near the historic freedmen’s community of Clarksville is, and always has been, an incredible injustice. This renaming is long overdue, and I am proud to join my colleagues in seeing this wrong set right.”

“History is meant to be remembered, but not all parts deserve to be honored. This renaming brings some well-deserved recognition to Maggie Mayes, an educator and Black leader who helped shape the community of Clarksville. I look forward to seeing more people of color—especially women—memorialized throughout our city,” said Mayor Pro Tem Alison Alter.

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