Chicago City Council Approves Renaming Street for Ida B. Wells

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A major street in downtown Chicago will soon be called by a new name.

Chicago aldermen approved a plan Wednesday, co-sponsored by Aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) and Sophia King (4th Ward) to rename Congress Parkway in honor of Ida B. Wells, a crusading African-American journalist famous for exposing the horrors of lynching across the South.

The council signed off on the proposal to rename the major east-west route that connects drivers from the Eisenhower Expressway to Grant Park and back.

"Today marks an historic moment in our City's history," King said in a statement. "For the first time in Chicago's history, we have a street in the Loop named after a woman of color. I cannot think of a more deserving person than Ida B. Wells." 

Congress Parkway was named as such more than a century ago because the Eisenhower used to be called the Congress Expressway.

Now, amid a resurgence of recognition for the journalist and civil rights icon, it will be renamed Ida B. Wells Drive.

Fundraisers are nearing their goal to build a monument to Wells at Langley and 37th, the site of the former housing projects that bore her name.

There was also a proposal to rename Balbo Drive in her honor, but it was met with strong opposition from Chicago's Italian-American community.

On the contrary, there was no strong objection to renaming Congress Parkway.

The name change will take effect in 30 days. 

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