RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh City Council on Tuesday addressed a petition and then voted to change the name of a street over its connections to white supremacy.
Members of the council voted unanimously to change the name of Aycock Street in the Five Points neighborhood. The street will soon be known as Roanoke Park Drive.
Stephen Mangano started the petition to change the name of the street that honors former North Carolina Gov. Charles Aycock (1901-05).
Mangano has lived on Aycock Street for 20 years.
Aycock supported segregating schools and played a part in the Wilmington massacre of 1898.
On Nov. 10, 1898, a white mob overthrew the locally elected government in Wilmington and destroyed the local Black-owned newspaper office, and terrorized the African American community.
An unknown number Blacks were killed in the massacre.
“The current history we’re trying to create which is changing the name and that the adults in the room realize that that was the wrong honor and correct it,” said Mangano.
He started the petition after the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed to bring the community together.
“When you go to school and learn about the Wilmington massacre you understand Aycock’s role in sort of lighting the flames and his role in suppressing black citizens during reconstruction. You don’t want them [children] to learn that their street was named after someone and honored after that,” said Mangano.
Only 15 out of 76 property owners on Aycock Street signed the document proposing the new name, Roanoke Park Drive.
A post on the Nextdoor app shows the community is split with some people writing, “changing names doesn’t change history but perhaps it eases some pain”, “spend the energy and focus fixing roads, giving scholarships, nurturing small business” and instead of changing history “make the future count.”
“I do agree we don’t need to keep promoting racist past,” said Gary Dismukes. “But at the same time, it’s very much going to be a pain cause we [have] to change our driver licenses, we [have] to change our address, more concerned about the DMV than anything.”
“People move all the time. You change your address for many reasons over the course of your life. I don’t think that the hassle outweighs the benefit for the community as a whole,” said Mangano.
It’s expected that the signage on Aycock Street will be changed around July 1, according to the council.