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Emanuel Wants To Rename Stony Island For Civil Rights Leader Brazier

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Arthur Brazier (CBS)

Arthur Brazier (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – One of the most widely used streets on the South Side could be in for a big change.

Stony Island covers more than 10 miles, stretching from 56th street in the Hyde Park neighborhood through several neighborhoods, including Woodlawn, South Shore and Avalon Park all the way down to 130th street, near the southern city border.

This would be the first renaming of a major South Side thoroughfare since South Parkway was renamed Martin Luther King Drive after Dr. King’s assassination in 1968.

Ironically, Bishop Brazier was one of the pastors who invited Dr. King to Chicago just part of his legacy that backers say, justifies this honor.

As pastor for more than 48 years before his death in 2010, Bishop Arthur Brazier built Apostolic Church of God into a powerful community institution.

The street outside the Woodlawn megachurch, 20,000 members strong, already bears an honorary sign. But Mayor Emanuel wants a much bigger memorial, officially renaming all of Stony Island Avenue Bishop Brazier Avenue.

“My father was a very humble man and he would think it was overkill. When you go back and take a look at his history, all the things he’s done, my father is worthy of this honor,” said Bryon Brazier, the bishop’s son.

And many South Siders agree.

“He’s been involved in many things on a civil rights level and he’s helped to establish a lot of things for the community and I think it is a wonderful idea and the sooner they do it the better,” said Woodlawn resident Evelynne Samuels.

She’s an enthusiastic apostolic member, but the renaming will come at a cost. Businesses like the Stony Laundry, the Stony Center and the Stony Sub Shop may be shopping for new names, too.

Scores of street signs will have to be changed and CTA bus signs as well.

Yet, residents told us Mayor Emanuel should get his wish and the mayor denied seeking any political benefit.

“If you don’t do it, you’re criticized. If you do it, it’s political. I’ll leave that to the cynics,” said Emanuel.

The city estimates the cost for changing signage along Stony Island at somewhere between $25,000 to $40,000. Four aldermen whose wards Stony Island passes through are all supporting the change.

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