Congress Parkway to be Renamed in Honor of Ida B. Wells

A stretch of Congress Parkway could be renamed after Ida B. Wells after the Chicago City Council introduced an ordinance to approve the move.

The decision serves as a compromise after strong opposition emerged against the original plan, which was to rename Balbo Drive after the famed anti-lynching activist.

The new ordinance was introduced to the City Council on Wednesday, with Aldermen Sophia D. King and Brendan Reilly serving as co-sponsors, and has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Public Ways.

Activists have been pushing to rename Balbo Drive in recent months, as controversy swirls over his role in the ascension of Benito Mussolini to power in Italy in 1922. Italian-Americans have opposed the move, and the decision to rename Congress Parkway after Wells was seen as a compromise by both sides.

Some aldermen want to rename Balbo Drive in honor of Ida B. Wells, but the move could spark controversy in the city. NBC 5 Investigates’ Phil Rogers has more on the debate. 

“This is the right way to proceed to end the controversy about naming a street after a woman who very much deserves it and we can leave that other item for future discussion,” Ald. Reilly told the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to the publication, only five mailing addresses are listed on Congress Parkway, minimizing any negative consequences of renaming the street after Wells.

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