The naming of Barack Obama Boulevard is not about partisan politics. 

It is about history. 

History has always shaped the names of streets, buildings and bridges.

Politics is subjective. 

History is just history. 

Regardless of politics, Barack Obama will always be the first Black U.S. president.

Whether you voted for him or did not, whether you think he was successful or not, whether you supported his policies or not, Obama is, was and will always be the first Black leader of the free world. 

New signs have been mounted and Saturday the city gathered to celebrate the new street naming. 

All of Valdosta should be proud of this historic moment. 

It is stark — and fitting — that Barack Obama Boulevard replaced Forrest Street, ostensibly named to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and founding member of the Klu Klux Klan. 

Imagine being a person of color, in a city that is majority Black and your community not honoring the historic achievement of the first Black U.S. president. 

Imagine being a person of color and having to drive down a street named for a founder of the Klan. Yes, we know there are people who argue that Forrest Street was not named for Nathan Bedford Forrest but the larger question is what is the perception and current feeling of why the street carried that name. 

And, for that matter, now imagine being a person of color in Valdosta — a city that is majority Black — having to drive down Lee Street every day. 

We know there may be some people who feel differently and who disagree with this point of view. 

How does the majority of Valdosta feel? 

We commend Valdosta City Council for making this change and for showing respect for the majority of Valdosta residents. 

We commend Valdosta State University student D.J. Davis and all those who worked with him to spearhead the effort to remove the name Forrest from street signs and to honor Obama. We commend the Rev. Floyd Rose for first leading this effort and inspiring a younger generation. 

We commend the residents of Forrest Street who signed the petitions, who wanted the change and made it happen.

Now, they are no longer residents of Forrest Street. They are residents of Barack Obama Boulevard.

They are now part of a historic change.

A change that’s right for Valdosta.

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