Bellamy defends Preston Avenue name change proposal

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Councilor Wes Bellamy defended his proposal to change the name of Preston Avenue during the Charlottesville City Council's meeting on Monday night.

The explanation was prompted by Kevin Cox, who brought up an alternative for the name during public comment.

Bellamy said he wanted to change the name of the street because of it's connection to slavery.

Preston Avenue is named after Thomas Lewis Preston, a Confederate soldier, slaveholder, and Rector from the University of Virginia.

Bellamy said he owned 29 slaves, a detail he said doesn't connect with the people living near the street.

"When we look at the fact that that street, Preston Avenue, is indeed literally in the middle of two predominantly African-American neighborhoods and it was named Preston Avenue after this gentleman was not by mistake," said Bellamy.

He said he would like to see the street named after Asalie M. Preston, an educator from Albemarle County in the 1900s.

He hopes councilors will take on his proposal in the future.

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