Honorary Renaming Of Colman Street Proposed To Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Rep. Ernest Hewett bill would give state road honorary name as "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd."

Colman Street does double duty as U.S. Route 1, and under a proposal by Rep. Ernest Hewett the street would also honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The statement of purpose in the bill is to “honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by renaming Colman Street in New London as ‘Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.’” Hewett said the boulevard title would be honorary, meaning the Colman Street name would remain.

“It’s a little more difficult to actually rename it,” said Hewett.

Hewett said that under the proposal, a sign honoring the civil rights leader would be put up somewhere along Colman Street. He said he would request permission for the honorary renaming from The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which was established by King's family after his death, and would invite a member of King’s family to attend the dedication ceremony.

Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.

Hewett said the honorary name could be put in place by the Connecticut General Assembly since Colman Street is also used as a state road. He said he was inspired by other efforts to name streets after King in Connecticut, including the 2011 renaming of North Frontage Street in New Haven as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

“There couldn’t be a better person to honor than Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Hewett.

Hewett said he considered requesting a formal name change for Colman Street, but did not think the businesses along the street would support it. Several businesses along Colman Street said a more permanent name change could have a negative effect on business since it would be more difficult for customers to find the address and businesses would incur costs by having to alter promotional materials and other items.

“Change is not always good,” said Anita Goldstein Miller, owner of Goldy’s Restaurant. “People have always known it as Colman Street.”

“Purely businesswise, it would not assist me,” said Noah Levine, owner of Rapid Car Wash, when asked if he would support a formal name change. “People know where Colman Street is and it would take them years to make that transition.”

Miller and Levine said they considered an honorary renaming that would retain the Colman Street name a more reasonable idea.

Mayor Daryl Finizio said the final decision on Hewett’s proposal will be up to the legislature due to Colman Street’s status as a state road.

“It is very fitting that Rep. Hewett is seeking a way to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said.

Hewett’s bill is currently before the legislature's Transportation Committee. Hewett said discussion on the proposal will include the logistics of where the sign might be placed and whether the funds for its installation would come from the King Center or another source.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fake Mr. Fuji January 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Oh man I'm gonna have to get a new GPS.
Thomas Cornick January 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Sure Ernie, but fully fund every map, sign, and plan change before you attend your photo op. Great man aside, locally we are just a bit short on funds for fluff.
Luis Smart January 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM
What a waste of effort in Hartford to talk about renaming Colman Street with all that is going on locally and across the state. If this is a newsworthy item and an item worth any effort at the capital we need to rethink our representation at the capital. This should never even make it out of committee. This bill and proposal does nothing to improve New London, the State of Connecticut or the quality of life for any of the members of the community.
NewLondonSource January 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM
“It is very fitting that Rep. Hewett is seeking a way to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” he [Mayor Finizio] said. Foot in mouth, much, Mr. Mayor? While I have nothing against the civil rights movement, why waste taxpayer money on this 'honorary renaming' in an already broke state?
Sue P. January 18, 2013 at 02:05 PM
My only problem with this is why do the Democrats try to take credit for what MLK fought so hard for. MLK would be so upset if he was alive today and saw what has happened with his dream. First of all MLK was a republican and he stood for equal rights. Not giving people jobs or education just because they are black but because they are human. You also have the Democrats praising JFK, when JFK had all of MLK's phones tapped trying to accuse MLK of being a communist. Jackie Kennedy hated MLK and thought he was perverted and wanted nothing to do with him. Martin Luther King was a Republican that believed in God, Family and Country and equality for all. Back when MLK was marching for equal rights the southern white folks that were hiding behind their white sheets were all KKK members and were doing everything in their power to shut Dr. King up. Sorry I know I'm rambling on but it's just history if anyone wants to bother to learn it. (By the way the republican party was started by ex-slaves and Catholics who were both discriminated by the white Democrats, kind of like today) So Ernie go ahead and rename the street at least I know what MLK stood for.
Greg Bryant January 18, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Hell be done with it name all the streets MLK, MLK Place, MLK street, MLK Blvd, MLK Circle, MLK Drive. they we never have to visit this again.
Bud Wizer January 18, 2013 at 02:27 PM
A sculpture similar to the one accompanying this report would be a far more fitting, appropriate and socially useful way of honoring the man who can be considering among the most sigficant American leaders of the 20th century. That very ugly vacant lot at the corner of Bank and Jefferson, now made even uglier with a line of boulders placed there that would cause great damage and injury should a vehilcle run into them, would seem the perfect spot for a statute or memorial to the Rev. Dr. King. Colman Street is a commercial strip of very dubious aesthetic value that is mostly known as "The Car Corner" or the fast-food strip in our city. Rep.Hewitt's political career began on Colman Street, where he resides, when he took on, in a way that the Rev. Dr. King likely would have applauded, the ownership of the motel at Colman and Bank for operations that encouraged drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal and socially dangerous activities. No one can take Rep. Hewitt to task for his intent with this initiative, but I suspect there will be many New Londonders who would vigorously argue that a better means of honoring the man whose dream is today an Oval Office manifestation of courageous social reforms engaged by unifying effort among Americans of all stripes and colors ought be given more thoughtful consideration than targeting a street that likely would not be the one the Rev. Dr. King would have led a march down had he graced our city with his august presence.
Bud Wizer January 18, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Dear Sue P: You are making a complete fool of yourself with your post. Reading it, I can only conclude that you must be a graduate of FOX NEWS University. Which civil rights march did you participate in? And how in the world did you come to forget J. Edgar Hoover's place in the MLK story? JFK had all of Dr. King's phone's tapped? JFK and RFK, the record clearly demonstrates, madam, were as fearful of Hoover and his underhanded secret files as were most politicians, of both parties, during Hoover's career of fixation with communists, queers, "radicals," Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and "UnAmerican activities." Let us hope you are not involved with whatever Rep. Hewitt's initiative might lead to.
Sue P. January 18, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Hey Bud, I was too young to march with MLK but my mother did. We lived in Norfolk Va. and I was 4 years old. My mother had to send me to private school because back then the schools were segregated. She didn't want her Northern child to come back up north and be shocked that blacks and whites actually do go to school together. I don't even think back in 64 that the schools were suppose to be segregated. But they were. As for where do I get my information from, The Black Republicans web site. and from articles written by black Americans that marched with MLK. If you dare to read that website you will here from people like Condelizza Rice and other influential black Americans that have told what they have experienced in life. My favorites are Don King and 50 cents. And please don't call me a fool because I have a different opinion from you. That makes you seem like a know it all elitist. By the way I don't watch Fox news because lately I find that I am more of a Libertarian then a republican or democrat. I'm ashamed of both parties and how foolish the American people can be to trust in either.
Sue P. January 18, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Here is an article first paragraph from The Atlantic newspaper. On October 10, 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy committed what is widely viewed as one of the most ignominious acts in modern American history: he authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin wiretapping the telephones of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Kennedy believed that one of King's closest advisers was a top-level member of the American Communist Party, and that King had repeatedly misled Administration officials about his ongoing close ties with the man. Kennedy acted reluctantly, and his order remained secret until May of 1968, just a few weeks after King's assassination and a few days before Kennedy's own. But the FBI onslaught against King that followed Kennedy's authorization remains notorious, and the stains on the reputations of everyone involved are indelible.
Sue P. January 18, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Here is a tad bit more on the article. The crucial figure was Stanley David Levison, a white New York lawyer and businessman who first met Martin Luther King in 1956 In the months immediately following Levison's visible departure from CPUSA activities, his selfless assistance to King soon established him as the young minister's most influential white counselor. But when the FBI tardily learned of Levison's closeness to King in early 1962, the Bureau understandably hypothesized that someone with Levison's secret (though thoroughly documented) record of invaluable service to the CPUSA might very well not have turned up at Martin Luther King's elbow by happenstance. With the FBI suggesting that Levison's seeming departure from the CPUSA was in all likelihood a ruse, Robert Kennedy and his aides felt they had little choice but to assume the worst and act as defensively as possible. The Kennedy Administration kept itself at arm's length from King, and events quickly spiraled, with the federal government undertaking extensive electronic surveillance of King himself.
Sue P. January 18, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Bud here is a better site to read. This is a site for David Garrow, a historian.David Garrow ::Welcome | http://www.davidgarrow.com/. He is the one that wrote the article in The Atlantic. Okay I'm done now proving my point. Have a nice day and enjoy the reading.
Sue P. January 18, 2013 at 07:28 PM
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” MLK
Debbie January 18, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Keep the dream alive and remind everyONE as they drive by (sign) and finally talk to their children about it, for race does matter even today in 2013.
Jack Everett January 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM
I have nothing against King he was a patriot but I think renaming Colman street to his name is overreach and could be very expensive at a time the town is crying bankruptcy.
Fake Mr. Fuji January 19, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Soupy is right, can't we all get along?
George Lazare January 20, 2013 at 12:45 AM
We have enough stuff named after MLKI
Jeff Howard January 20, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Coleman st name is a part of New London that should not change!
Ocean Breeze January 20, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Here we go again....isnt there something more important that we can spend our money on. Why dont we wait until a new street is created and name it MLK. Please, where the heck are the funds for the renaming coming from. Up the taxes to support the city, but now we need to rename streets.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something