Commemorating evil

Tulsa, says Michael Bates, is planning to rename Brady Street and the associated Brady District to something else starting with a B — why not “Bates”? — because of Tate Brady’s involvement with, among other things, the Ku Klux Klan. Certainly no one wants to honor those dumb Klux, but Bates says that the measure doesn’t go far enough to clean up the city map:

Rather than handle these renamings piecemeal, with the potential of a new renaming (and a four-hour long public hearing) at every week’s City Council meeting, the City Council should appoint a diverse commission of historically minded citizens to research the histories of all names under the control of the City of Tulsa and its boards and commissions.

This commission — perhaps to be called the Commission for the Sanitation of Politically Incorrect Names (C-SPIN) — would report back with a comprehensive recommendation to rename certain streets, an estimate of the cost to rename, and a revenue proposal (sales tax or general obligation bond issue) for funding the recommended renamings, including city expenses like street signage and grants to affected businesses and residents to cover signage, business cards, letterhead, and other street renaming expenses.

The commission would have to consider whether a person’s misdeeds rises to the level of deserving the removal of his or her name from a public place. They might wish to set criteria that would be applied consistently to decide thumbs up or down.

A commission like this would strike fear into the hearts of Oklahoma City historians, who have for years been sitting on stories like that one time Harvey Everest kicked a cat, or that Delos Walker actually sat on the school board, and we all know about school boards, don’t we?


  1. McGehee »

    12 August 2013 · 1:11 pm

    “You know who else sat on a school board?”

  2. Lynn »

    12 August 2013 · 4:57 pm

    Perhaps they should pass a law requiring all streets to be named after trees. As far as I know there has never been any controversy over any of the many Elm Streets around the country.

  3. CGHill »

    12 August 2013 · 5:25 pm

    Used to be, in The Woodlands, Texas, it was de rigueur to name streets after trees, but now that it’s about the size of Broken Arrow — and much, much wealthier — they don’t do that so much anymore.

    Oh, and one person names all those streets.

  4. Nicole »

    12 August 2013 · 5:48 pm

    Gotta love the PC whitewashing of history that no one remembers anyway.

  5. CGHill »

    12 August 2013 · 5:54 pm

    Heh. She said whitewash.

    I’ll take this seriously about the time West Virginia starts removing Robert C. Byrd’s name from every flat surface in the state.

  6. Dan T. »

    12 August 2013 · 6:32 pm

    Just declare Brady Street to be after the Brady Bunch; that’s surely inoffensive enough for everybody.

  7. McGehee »

    13 August 2013 · 8:10 am

    The guy who played Mike Brady was in the closet! HOMOPHOBE!

    (This riposte brought to you by the Anything Can Be Offensive If You Really Really Really Want to Be Offended®, a registered nonprofit organization.)

  8. fillyjonk »

    13 August 2013 · 5:59 pm

    Numbers for east-west streets; letters for north-south streets.

    Solves the problem. Well, until you get more than 26 north-south streets but you could use the convention of AA, AB, AC…. (Of course, I suppose that could be seen as offensive to those not using the Latin alphabet.)

  9. CGHill »

    13 August 2013 · 8:40 pm

    Some places out West have nothing but numbers: avenues run north and south, streets east and west.

    The Tulsa system is sorta cute: the avenues run through three sets of A-Z town names, the streets south of 1st are numbered, the streets north of 1st have names. Like Brady. Get beyond that, and you get into things like 6097 South 116th East Avenue (I have no idea if this is a real address or not, but it fits the grid).

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