The Martin Luther King BLVD Catch 22


The Martin Luther King BLVD Catch 22

Mayor Edgar Azell Delaney Sr. was mayor of Avon Park, FL for 28 years according the News Sun, And for this reason some feel that the street should not necessarily be taken out of his name. He was born in 1891 and died in 1979. The segregated South ended in 1965, at which time Edgar Azell Delaney Sr. was about 74 years old. The history of Mayor E. A. Delaney is not clear, because there is not much information on the world wide web about him. But I have to wonder when was he mayor of Avon Park, it would seem it was during the segregated South.

Then I have to ask exactly what was is contributions to Avon Park and especially the black community of Avon Park, FL. While the consensus of some white folks here in Avon Park to include our current Mayor Sharon Schuler is that Dr. King does deserve a street named after him, but so does E. A. Delaney Sr. So why rename Delaney Avenue, why not Verona Avenue or even Hal McRae BLVD? We ask why should a historical mayoral figure from the segregated South hold the name of a street with reverence in the heart of the black community South Delaney Avenue? Is that far to us?

The renaming of South Delaney Avenue is strategic to the black community, its about black pride, community development and reducing crime by giving people a reason to care and come together on something relevant and we are not even sure if Edgar Azell Delaney Sr. was actually our (the black peoples) mayor. Was he the mayor of all the people? I mean did our votes even matter during his tenure, because the voting rights act wasn’t until 1965, because the black vote was ignored. And we do not want to stripe our local hero Hal McRae of his BLVD nor do we want Verona Avenue, we even think Verona Avenue would be fine place for E. A. Delaney Sr., because the Post Office is located on it (name the post office after him), but we want South Delaney Avenue because it is the center our black business district and black community, which is now a troubled area in Avon Park, which is high in crime and failing businesses and we feel if we can improve this street and take it back from the thugs, we can improve our whole community. And the name change to Martin Luther King BLVD would support these efforts.

Another issue is the changing on identification cards for the people who now live in Delaney Avenue. Many of the residents in the Southside Redevelopment Area are poor. Mayor Sharon Schuler at the City Council meeting on 13 Jan 2014 throw a monkey wrench into the mix. She suggested that if the people most effected by this change are against it, meaning the people who are living Delaney Avenue who would have to legally change their ID cards at their perhaps at their own expenses, do not want to incur these expenses, they the city council should vote it down. There has to be money in the system to solve this, but if not.

We in the black community and especially our community heroes, churches, non profit organizations, community leaders and even outside organizations and philanthropist who support community development and the Dr. King legacy must step up the plate. Because we need sponsors to insure this movement to change the name of Delaney Avenue to Martin Luther King BLVD is not struck down by the City Council. And we do not really want all of Delaney Avenue, what we really want is South Delaney Avenue. But to insure this name change we need money to help poor people in our community exchange their identification cards and perhaps update their mailboxes, we are talking about perhaps at most $5,000 to $10,000.

Therefore the right strategy to approaching the City Council when these special meetings occur would be to first find out by going door to door, not only do the people want it, but can they afford the address change and let them know that we plan to find the money to help them exchange their ID cards and will not push forward with this agenda until funding is found. And I think a good compromise would be to simply change the name of South Delaney Avenue only, leaving North Delaney Avenue as is. I strongly feel that we have time on our side, because Dr. King died over 40 years ago. I prefer to do this a year from now when we have the money for the proper transition if it takes that long, than to strike it down next week. I think this is something that should be planned thoroughly.

Frank Paul Jones


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