Robert E. Lee Road and Jeff Davis Avenue are no more after the Austin City Council on Thursday voted to remove the names of the Confederate leaders from the two Austin streets that bear their names.
Instead the road that ambles along Barton Creek into the Zilker neighborhood will be named for Azie Taylor Morton, the country’s first and only black U.S. treasurer, who grew up and went to college in Austin. Its official designation will be Azie Morton Road.
In the Brentwood neighborhood in North Austin, the street that was presumably named for the president of the Confederacy will now be named for William Holland, an African-American Travis County commissioner who served in the state Legislature and founded the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institute for Colored Youth in Austin in 1887, a precursor to the Texas School for the Blind.
The vote was 10-0 with City Council Member Ellen Troxclair absent from the meeting.
While most of the residents who responded to surveys from the city objected to the proposed name changes, the lion’s share of speakers at City Hall on Thursday were in favor of the revisions. Jeff Davis Avenue resident Rachel Copperman said the racist insidiousness the street names represented far outweighed any “minor inconvenience” residents will face in having an address change forced upon them.
“This forever home is where I will raise my children,” Copperman said. “I want them to grow up on a street named after someone they can be proud of.”
Correction: This article has been updated to correct Rachel Copperman’s name.