NORMAN, Okla. (AP) An Oklahoma college town approved a petition to rename a street honoring a Ku Klux Klan leader who was also a prominent professor.
The Norman City Council gave its unanimous approval Tuesday to rename DeBarr Avenue as Deans Row Avenue. Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary told The Norman Transcript that the city plans to make the change within 30 days.
Edwin DeBarr was one of the first professors at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He became a grand dragon in the KKK and was forced from the university in 1923 because of his Klan involvement.
The block-long street named after him is near the campus. City leaders acted based on a petition from property owners after Councilwoman Breea Clark renewed a long-dormant effort to make the change. The University of Oklahoma’s student government association also supported the effort.
Clark said the street signs should be kept as a historical reminder of how far the city has come as an inclusive community.
“I want to thank everyone who called, emailed, posted and shared your thoughts on this issue,” Clark said. “They did not fall on deaf ears.”
The petition’s applicants will be responsible to pay the $200 fee to change the name. Clark said she will lead a crowdfunding effort to help raise money to cover the costs.
The new name is meant to honor all University of Oklahoma deans.