*Video has surfaced of last week’s racially divisive debate in Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish Council over a proposal to rename Colonial Boulevard in Violet to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
According to NOLA.com, Violet is the only majority African-American community in the parish – about 56 percent of its homeowners were black residents, according to the 2013 Census estimate. But the majority of people who showed up at the council meeting were white.
“As far as naming it to Martin Luther King, he didn’t live in this parish, he did nothing for this parish, he didn’t even know this parish existed,” white resident Charlotte O’Connor said at the meeting.
A white male who spoke against the name change said of African Americans, “I’ve never had a racist bone in my body. I’ve worked for a bunch of them, been in a lot of their houses… But if you keep pushing me, I will show you my racist ways.”
The debate ended with the council unanimously voting down renaming the half-mile stretch of road.
St. Bernard’s NAACP President Rev. Kevin Gabriel said, “Ninety percent of the people on the block want that name change.” On Monday (Aug. 24), he said an NAACP attorney likely would be filing a discrimination lawsuit against the parish.
Watch the debate below: