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Bloomington may rename Jordan Avenue for people born into slavery

The intersection of Jordan Avenue and Law Lane is shown in May 2019. (Photo Provided/Google Street View)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — City officials and Indiana University leaders have revealed the new names for Jordan Avenue.

A task force submitted its recommendations after spending months reviewing hundreds of names. The group proposed Eagleson Avenue for the section of road between 17th and Davis streets, according to a news release from Yaël Ksander, the city’s communications director. The stretch from Fee Lane to 17th would be called Fuller Lane or Mattie Fuller Lane.

Both names honor people who were born into slavery and went on to make significant contributions to the city or university.

The release said, “The first name recommendation honors the Eagleson family, a prominent Bloomington family for four generations whose members have made significant contributions to the city, university, state, and nation, starting with Halson Vashon Eagleson (1851-1921), who was born into slavery and came to Bloomington in the 1880s. The second proposed name honors Mattie Jacobs Fuller (1856-1940), who, after being born into slavery in Kentucky, became at age four a lifelong resident of Bloomington, where she was a successful business woman and suffragist, and made the donation that founded Bethel AME Church.”

In 2020, IU stripped former school president David Jordan’s name from campus over his promotion of the eugenics theory.

The city plan commission will have to approve the names. Once approved, the city will work with property owners along the renamed avenue and lane, and with the U.S. Postal Service, emergency service providers and others affected by the change.

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