The “Old Dixie Highway” has been renamed to honor President Obama. This comes at a time when cities across the U.S. are getting rid of symbols that remind people of the racism, slavery and violence of the past.
In December of 2015, a crowd cheered in Riviera Beach, Florida, as city workers removed the “Old Dixie Highway” sign and replaced it with a “President Barack Obama Highway” sign. The renaming of the road, which is one of the primary thoroughfares in Riviera Beach, happened in August of 2015. The sign changing ceremony was held where the new President Barack Obama Highway intersects with Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
The “Old Dixie Highway” is the second Palm Beach Country road to be renamed in order to honor President Obama. In 2014, East First Street was renamed Barack Obama Boulevard.
The Old Dixie Highway is a symbol of racism, the KKK and cross burnings. It also carries a lot of bad memories by the black residents of the neighborhood. It once served as the line that divided the white neighborhoods from the black neighborhoods. There may have even been a KKK cross burning on the road several years ago. By renaming it in honor of President Obama, it shows that the city approves change.
The United States has a long way to go before the memories of racism are erased. However, replacing the Old Dixie Highway sign is a good step toward that change.