CHICAGO (CBS)–A proposal being backed by two Chicago aldermen to rename Balbo Drive after a female civil rights leader was introduced at City Hall Wednesday.
Ald. Sophia King and Ald. Brendan Reilly are supporting a proposal to rename the street in honor of Ida B. Wells, an African American journalist and women’s rights activist.
Balbo first came under scrutiny last year when protestors showed up in opposition to a monument in Burnham Park that commemorates Italian pilot Gen. Italo Balbo, who has been tied to dictator Benito Mussolini.
The street was renamed from Seventh Street to Balbo after the pilot helped Mussolini lead an airplane armada to Chicago before WWII.
Some Italian-Americans are opposed to the proposal to change Balbo.
Dominic DiFrisco, president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, said at City Hall Wednesday that Balbo cut his ties with Mussolini.
“On the same day Mussolini passed the anti-Semitic laws of Italy, he took Jewish friends—20 of them–to a public place—and showed his solidarity with the Jewish community,” DiFrisco said.
Also at City Hall was Wells’ great-grandson Dan Duster. He told CBS 2’s Jim Williams that he hoped the street would bear his grandmother’s name one day soon.
“First as a Chicagoan, it’s long overdue,” Duster said. “As a member of the family it’s incredible.”
Ald. King described today as a “historical day for the City of Chicago.”
The City Council will decide whether the proposal will move forward.