Mayor Emanuel has proposed renaming Stony Island Avenue for Bishop Arthur M. Brazier. However, this is not the first time there was an effort to rename the street.
In 1989 the Chicago City Council entertained a proposal to change Stony Island to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Drive, in honor of the longtime Muslim leader and Chicago resident. After five hours of heated debate, the legislation was referred to committee, where it died.
At the time, I wrote letters to the Tribune, Sun-Times, and Defender about the matter. I suggested that instead of replacing a historic street name like Stony Island, one of the number streets should be changed instead.
I still feel that way. If the mayor and city council wish to honor Bishop Brazier with an official street name, why not change 63rd Street? It’s one of the most important streets in the city. Besides, “Stony Island” is too pretty a name to abandon.