Florida officials to rename 'The Dixie Highway' to 'Harriet Tubman Highway'
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FL - After taking a vote, a highway in Florida will go from being named after the Confederate states to honoring Harriet Tubman.
According to CNN, Miami-Dade County commissioners unanimously approved plans to rename portions of 'The Dixie Highway,' which runs 5,786 miles through ten states from Michigan to Miami.
While the word 'Dixie' may mean different things to different people, for many it's associated with the old South and Confederate states. This is because 'Dixie' was considered the land south of the Mason-Dixon line, where slavery was legal.
So, after seeking approval to rename the Highway, Florida official, Dennis Moss, quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying, "The time is always right to do what is right."
Moss spearheaded efforts to rename the highway to 'Harriet Tubman Highway,' in honor of the famous African American abolitionist.
He began looking into changing the highway's name after reading a letter from a man named Modesto Abety, who was the former CEO of the Children's Trust in Miami-Dade County.
Abety said his granddaughter asked him why "Dixie" was still on the name of the roadway considering its association with slavery, one of the most regrettable moments in America's History.
Moss said Abety's letter made him realize that even though this specific form of slavery has ended, the same injustice it fueled is still hiding in plain sight.
He also expressed appreciation for his colleagues' ability to understand why this name change matters.
Though Moss's Miami-Dade county colleagues approved the change, it's up to each state to act on other parts of the highway.
So, state lawmakers will need to go through their own approval processes.
And at this point, though support hasn't been unanimous, Moss says he's surprised by how little opposition he's faced.
In any case, Moss says no matter the cost, he and his colleagues will do whatever it takes to see that the Highway's name is changed.
"If this was an Adolf Hitler Highway, or if this was in our community, a Fidel Castro Highway, [the money] wouldn't even be a consideration as it relates to changing the signs," Moss said. "So let's not allow that to be an impediment and let's do what's right."