Keith Boykin talks about a community’s struggle to have a New York street named after a controversial Black activist, Sonny Carson. Check out this good read:
For several years now, I have lived in Harlem near Malcolm X Boulevard, also called Lenox Avenue. It’s just one of the many street names here that have been changed since the civil rights era began. In addition to Malcolm X, there’s also Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and of course, the obligatory Martin Luther King, a virtual requirement in every African American community. The street names celebrate some of the great legends in black history. But now there’s a new controversy in New York about renaming another street for a different black folk hero. His name is Sonny Carson, and whether he was a hero or a villain may very well depend on your perspective. Some, like Mayor Mike Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, describe Carson as a racist criminal. But others, like City Councilmen Charles Barron and Albert Vann, who are black, say there’s much to cheer about Carson’s life story. So should the city name a street after him?