HEADED TO THE HISTORY BOOKS: Confederate Boulevard is no more.
After a lengthy period of public discussion — marked by the unsurpassed fortitude of defenders of the name — the Little Rock City Board
voted 8-2 night to change the remaining four or five blocks of Confederate Boulevard
to Springer Boulevard,
the name the majority of the thoroughfare has carried since the early 1970s.
City Directors Joan Adcock and B.J. Wyrick voted to retain the Confederate name.
One lengthy speech from an "unreconstructed Confederate" noted that many blacks fought on the side of the Confederacy. Others invoked the sacrifice of Rebel soldiers, most not slave owners themselves. Sharon Welch-Blair said it was divisive to bring the matter up and the name shouldn't be changed. On the other side were speakers for the Springer family, black pioneers in the Granite Mountain area, and those who reminded the audience of the Confederacy's roots in preservation of slavery.
There was no board discussion before the vote. Mayor Stodola didn't vote. That is custom except to decide contested issues.
The Planning Commission had earlier endorsed the name change. A majority of the small number of property owners along the short stretch of street supported the name change.