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Update: Sonny Carson Avenue
May 30th, 2007

The dispute over whether to rename a portion of a Brooklyn street for black activist Sonny Carson sharply split the City Council today. With support from the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Councilmember Albert Vann introduced an amendment to add Sonny Carson Avenue back to the street renaming package bill. The move failed.

Carson Avenue, along with the rest of the street name proposals had been introduced in April and removed from the street renaming bill after a contentious vote in the parks committee. Councilmembers, the media and the public have debated the merits of honoring Carson and the process by which streets are renamed.

At today’s meeting, Vann urged his colleagues to vote their conscience and emphasized the importance of honoring the wishes of local communities.Earlier, Vann connected the issue to self-determination and freedom, If you tell us who we cannot honor today, youll tell us who we cannot worship tomorrow.

Councilmembers Albert Vann and Charles Barron with supporters of the Sonny Carson Avenue on City Hall steps before the council voted on the amendment.

On Memorial Day, Councilmember Charles Barron led an effort to rename a Brooklyn parkafter Sonny Carson by putting up new signs. Today, Barron spoke at length on the issue, singling out Letitia James for abstaining from voting on Sonny Carson Avenue while on the Parks Committee and criticizing Council Speaker Christine Quinns efforts to block the renaming. Quinn responded by emphasizing that those who the city honors with street names must reflect the citys core values and principles and unite, not divide, us.Before the meeting, Barron, who has referenced the numerous streets named after slaveholders and the councils honoring of entertainer Al Jolson who dressed in blackface, spoke about the controversial Irish New Yorkers and members of the Irish Republican Army who had been honored by the city in the past and supported by the local African American community.

Spectators in the crowded City Hall chambers chanted Whose streets?Our streets.Whose streets? Sonnys streets? and self-determination, but the council voted against adding Sonny Carson Avenue with 15 in favor of the amendment, 25 against and 6 abstaining. Some councilmembers voiced concerns about the process as they voted no, while others cited allegedly hateful comments by Carson as they emphatically voted no.

By on May 30, 2007, 5:31 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Update: Sonny Carson Avenue”

  1. Don DeBar Says:
    June 3rd, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Actually I believe it was 25 against, 15 for, 7 abstentions and four absent. Between the votes in favor, the abstentions and the absences, there were enough votes to pass the resolution.

  2. Big George Says:
    June 12th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    We need to stop supporting everybody who when it’s time to exercise our self determination they turn there back on us,and African Americans fought and died in all the wars in this country including korea, we need to unite instead of bootlicking.
    You have Adam Clayton Powell & and Malcolm X
    Blvds in Harlem so what’s the deal, The majority of the Street names in this city are of a racist backround toward people of african desent, i read the history of my city and know for a fact this is so, just take a name and do research on it.

  3. Jeff Smith Says:
    July 22nd, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    The guy is/was a racist nut job. Just what do you think ‘anti-white’ means, anyway??

  4. anonymous Says:
    October 11th, 2007 at 9:41 am

    what do you think “slave holder” means? malcolm x also said divisive things until his story was re-told to make him more appealing to white folks (i.e., “he had a change of heart after mecca”). why is it that white people take offense to people who are fighting for self-determination of afrikans, yet have no problems honoring slave owners and mass murderers? (i.e. george washington, christopher columbus)

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