Miami Commissioners Rename Highway After Harriet Tubman

American abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman (1820 - 1913) who escaped slavery by marrying a free man and led many other slaves to safety using the abolitionist network known as the underground railway.   (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

Miami Commissioners Rename Highway After Harriet Tubman

The decision was unanimous.

Published February 20th

Written by Vanessa Etienne

After a unanimous vote from Miami-Dade commissioners on Wednesday (Feb. 19), Dixie Highway will be renamed after activist and patriot, Harriet Tubman.

The vote follows complaints from numerous Black southern Floridians who believe the name represents racism and slavery. 

“Harriet Tubman is the antithesis of what Dixie, Jim Crow and in human institution of slavery stood for,” said Commissioner Dennis Moss, CBS reports.

Although many are thrilled for this change, honoring the heroine responsible for helping free slaves through the Underground Railroad, there are others disappointed in the decision.

“But to replace the name South Dixie, East Dixie… only to turn around and replace it with another name others find offensive, you are jumping from fire into the frying pan,” said Mary Waters, a community resident who spoke about her reaction during a public hearing, CBS reports.

Commissioner Joe Martinez stated that most of his recent phone calls have been from those who oppose the new name. Regardless, all 13 Miami-Dade commissioners voted yes, making the vote both symbolic and rare. 

However, while the vote is a step forward, there is still work to be done as portions of Dixie Highway are state roads. Martinez says he hopes the change can be done uniformly and needs the help of the Florida Legislature to do so, according to NBC.

"You don't want to be going: 'Hey my address is 186 Dixie Highway, and then the next block down, 187 Harriet Tubman," Martinez says, NBC reports. "That just doesn't make any sense".

While this change is not yet official, the county is currently trying to get a petition to the state in order to have the entire highway renamed. 

Portrait of abolitionist Harriet Tubman - stock photo

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