Asheville May Remove Slave-Owner Names From Some Streets

Aug 12, 2020

Protestors march down Patton Ave. in Asheville in June 2020.
Credit Lamoreaux via Flickr /

The North Carolina city of Asheville is considering removing the names of slave owners and other people associated with discrimination from some streets and a park.

The Citizen-Times reported Sunday that the recommendations for name changes follow this year's protests against police brutality and racism.

Those demonstrations were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 when a white Minneapolis police officer jammed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Asheville's city manager had asked the Asheville and Buncombe County African American Heritage Commission to recommend names for removal as well as replacements.

Among the names flagged for potential renaming is Patton Avenue. James Patton served on Asheville’s governing body in 1841 and is said to have owned at least 35 people who were enslaved.

Another is Merrimon Avenue. Augustus Summerfield Merrimon was a Democratic U.S. senator. He defended voter intimidation and atrocities against Black people during elections in 1876 in South Carolina that ended Reconstruction and restored white supremacists to power.

Since Floyd’s death, several Confederate monuments have been removed in North Carolina.