GARY - The city of Gary is planning to rename a street to honor the late civil rights activist Malcolm X. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report one of Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson’s last acts before leaving office in the New Year, will be issuing an executive order to change the name of Virginia Street to Malcolm X Boulevard.

Freeman-Wilson’s successor, Jerome Prince, will take office in January.

The move follows a push by a group of local citizens over the last ten years to gather signatures in support of the renaming, according to the Times.

Freeman-Wilson told the publication naming the street after a significant civil rights figure is an important step for the city. While the move may be controversial, she cited his ability to emphasize “how much those who struggled and those who were under-served and underprivileged had in common,” as an important message of unity.

“He emphasized how poor people, people of color, and others who were disenfranchised politically and economically had a lot more in common, and that we needed to fight together on behalf of change. That really is a message that is applicable today, just as it was in the 1960s and late 1950s when people were struggling for basic human rights. Here today, how racially divided we are troubles me,” Freeman-Wilson said.

The naming wouldn’t be official until July, to allow time for street signs, businesses and residential addresses to be changed over.

To read the full story from The Times of Northwest Indiana, click here.