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St. Louis groups push to rename Delmar Boulevard to 'George Floyd Divide'

"If it is good to name a street after a policeman killed by a civilian, would it not be just to name a street after a civilian killed by a policeman?"

ST. LOUIS — Several groups and city leaders held a media event Tuesday calling for the renaming of Delmar Boulevard to the "George Floyd Divide".

The event was held at 11 a.m. at University City Hall, with words from representatives with The Universal African Peoples Organization, The Green Party of St. Louis, Tauheed Youth Organization, Beloved Streets of America and St. Louis City Ward 18 Alderman Jesse Todd.

Delmar Boulevard is also colloquially known as "The Delmar Divide," and it is seen to many as a symbol of segregation that persists to the present day in St. Louis.

RELATED: Protesters march in The Loop to bring attention to the 'Delmar Divide'

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, when crossing south over Delmar Boulevard, the population goes from more than 98% Black to more than 70% white. Median home value rises from $73,000 to $335,000, and median yearly income rises from $18,000 to $50,000, according to the American Community Survey of 2012-2016.

"We'll be calling for other major avenues to be named after victims of police violence, including West Florissant to be named after Mike Brown," said Zaki Baruti with the Universal African People's Organization.

University City Hall sits at the corner where Delmar intersects with Mike King Drive, a street named after University City Police Sgt. Michael King, who was shot in the line of duty.

"We ask this question: If it is good to name a street after a policeman killed by a civilian, would it not be just to name a street after a civilian killed by a policeman?" a news release for the event asked.

Credit: Green Party of St. Louis/Universal African Peoples Organization

Those pushing for the name change said it would be impactful for two such streets to intersect at city hall.

"Decades from now, when many of us will be gone, children will look at the intersection of George Floyd Divide and Sgt. Mike King Dr. and ask why the streets have those names," the news release said. 

"Their relatives could say, 'You will need to ask your grandparents because they were teenagers who marched in the great demonstrations of 2020. In those days, police killings were common and the old Delmar Boulevard served as a divide between whites who enjoyed civil rights and Blacks who were disrespected and brutalized, not only in St. Louis but throughout the country.'”

According to the book "History of St. Louis Neighborhoods", Delmar Boulevard got its name from two neighbors on opposite sides of the road, one from Delaware and one from Maryland, who combined the names of their home states. The city of Delmar, Delaware — which sits on the border of Maryland — got its name in the same fashion.

The groups calling for change also plan to ask University City to request the county look into changing the name of Delmar Boulevard as well, because the road does run into St. Louis County. 

Editor's note regarding video attached to this story: Alderwoman Megan Green tells 5 On Your Side she has not made a decision on whether to support the name change and did not give the group permission to use her name in the press release.

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