BY SUSANNAH BRYAN
SUN SENTINEL / TNS
HOLLYWOOD, FLA. – Lee, Hood and Forrest streets – three Hollywood streets named for Confederate war leaders – may soon be christened Liberty, Hope and Freedom.
After years of debate, Hollywood plans to say farewell to the controversial street names honoring Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest – who was also the first grand wizard of the KKK.
A long fight
“It’s been a long road. It’s taken 15 years,” said Benjamin Israel, the Hollywood resident who led the charge to change the names. “I’m elated with what has taken place today.”
During a workshop Wednesday, commissioners tackled the issue of what to call the streets now. Mayor Josh Levy suggested Liberty, Hope and Freedom — a suggestion that resonated with commissioners. Commissioners will likely take a formal vote on the proposal in November.
The long-running controversy over the original street names sparked at least three protests – two backing the name change and one against – six arrests, one lawsuit and plenty of headlines.
Not everyone was happy with the proposed names. Two groups – Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward and Take Down Slavery Symbols of Hollywood – say they’d prefer the streets be named for Eula Johnson, who worked to desegregate beaches in Broward County, and abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth.
Residents who live or own businesses on Lee, Hood and Forrest will need to notify bill collectors and others once the name of their street changes.
The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles has agreed to waive the fee for residents on all three streets when they change the address on their driver’s licenses, Levy said. And the U.S. Postal Service will continue delivering mail to both the old and new address for 13 months, he added.