Monuments to the living | Arkansas Blog

Monuments to the living

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I admit I've been a little reluctant to plunge into the neighborhood squabble about renaming a street to honor the unsinkable Annie Abrams. I know Annie. (See Leslie Peacock's cover story for a taste of a true character, sort of Little Rock's Forrest Gump of the civil rights years.) I love Annie. She's a living treasure. But I side almost completely with those who think the city does well to be very reluctant to name streets — or anything else — for living people.

There are exceptions. Sure, the city did right to name a street after a former resident who served two terms as president of the United States. (It did wrong, and enhanced the Markham Street mystery, by folding to Clinton haters and naming only a brief stretch of the street that ends at Bill Clinton's library after the president.) So I'm not so enthusiastic about the effort to thwart Annie Abrams Street by passing an ordinance that flatly prohibits renaming streets for all but dead people, as City Director Erma Hendrix has proposed. I think cool-headed city officials — with the always vigorous input of citizens, such as the strong lobby that has arisen against the Abrams motion — are capable of sifting the appropriate from the inappropriate and premature. Col. Glenn has withstood the passage of time, I think. Bill Clinton? His presidency has looked pretty good for 10 years now.

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