WILDWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – Wildwood can’t decide what to do with Old Slave Rd., which runs past plantations and a cemetery where former slaves are buried.
At a meeting Wednesday, the Wildwood Historic Preservation Commission offered up two possible name changes: Old Slave Cemetery Road and Freedmen Road. The commission says both Old Slave Cemetery Road and Freedmen Road “recognize the history of the area” while clearly identifying the major role former slaves had in the area’s growth before and after the Civil War.
Rosalie Madison-Bowman told the commission that she approves of changing the name to honor her relative, Elijah Madison, a slave from a Wildwood plantation.
“It would be a great honor to our family if you all decided to name the street Eljah Madison,” relative Madison-Bowman said.
But homeowner Ray Mantin doesn’t see why the road’s name is offensive in the first place; in fact, he thinks it’s a reminder of history. “I’ve traveled through the area for twenty years. I know many black families in the area and its never been a topic of discussion.”
Mantin when on to say changing the name of the road would “obliterate” the memory of slaves.
The commission declined to decide last night, so now the name goes to the Wildwood City Council.