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Atlanta Street Renamed To Honor Civil Rights Icon John Lewis

People gather Wednesday to get a look at – and take photos of -- the unveiled John Lewis Freedom Parkway sign. It’s on the southeast corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and what was formerly Freedom Parkway in Atlanta.
People gather Wednesday to get a look at – and take photos of -- the unveiled John Lewis Freedom Parkway sign. It’s on the southeast corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and what was formerly Freedom Parkway in Atlanta.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE
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Freedom Parkway is now John Lewis Freedom Parkway.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and City Council members honored U.S. Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis with the new street name Wednesday.

Bottoms also presented Lewis with the city of Atlanta’s highest honor, a Phoenix Award.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and City Council members honored the civil rights icon and U.S. Rep. John Lewis at a ceremony Wednesday. (Tasnim Shamma/WABE)
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and City Council members honored the civil rights icon, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, at a ceremony Wednesday. (Tasnim Shamma/WABE)

“In my time on City Council of eight years and my short time as mayor, this is the first renaming that has not had any controversy attached to it, so Congressman Lewis, thank you for the peace and love that you bring to our city and to our world,” Bottoms said.

The street sign is on the southeast corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and what was formerly Freedom Parkway.

In the 1980s, John Lewis helped stop a proposal to create Presidential Parkway, a much larger expressway, extending all the way to Stone Mountain.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms thanked John Lewis “for the peace and love that you bring to our city and to our world.” (Tasnim Shamma/WABE)

“It’s like coming back home. During another period, I was one of the people who protested against a four-lane highway coming through this historic district,” Lewis said after the ceremony. “We saved a lot of trees and a lot of homes.”

Lewis said he hopes it will serve as a historic marker and thanked City Council member Andre Dickens for pushing for the street name change.

“He did it on behalf of a generation yet unborn in the city of Atlanta, in Georgia, America and around the world,” Lewis said.