Rename Sheridan Road?

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Oklahoman urban reporter Steve Lackmeyer may have unintentionally sparked another street-naming controversy up the turnpike in Tulsa.

Lackmeyer recounted the 1961 renaming of Oklahoma City's Grand Avenue to Sheridan Avenue. The name Sheridan, to honor Civil War general, Ft. Sill founder, and "Indian fighter" Philip Sheridan, was a compromise after merchants requested a renaming to erase the bad reputation of Grand Ave and honor a new Sheraton Hotel. Lackmeyer looked into the background of the street's namesake:

And here's where it gets really politically incorrect: Sheridan liked to kill American Indians. His biographer quoted him as saying "the only good Indians I saw were dead" in response to a Comanche chief who introduced himself to the general as a "good Injun." He made this lovely comment while at Fort Sill - the same command that oversaw the opening of the unassigned lands in Oklahoma, including what is now Oklahoma City.

Sheridan's assault on American Indians was more than just a military guy taking his job too seriously.

During the winter of 1868, he attacked Cheyennes, Kiowas and Comanches in their winter quarters, taking the livestock, killing those who fought back, and driving the survivors back onto reservations.

Gen. Sheridan didn't like buffalo either:

Historians noted that when the Texas legislature considered outlawing bison poaching on tribal lands, Sheridan personally testified against it, suggesting lawmakers instead give each of the hunters a medal, engraved with a dead buffalo on one side and a discouraged-looking Indian on the other.

There are a lot of places named Sheridan in the US, and the ones I've checked all seemed to be named to honor this murderous racist.

While Sheridan Avenue in Oklahoma City is a relatively short and minor street, Sheridan Road in Tulsa is a major thoroughfare, a section-line road stretching from Mohawk Park and the Tulsa Zoo in the north, along the west boundary of Tulsa International Airport, and all the way to the Arkansas River near Bixby in the south. There are Sheridan Road exits on the Gilcrease Expressway, the Broken Arrow Expressway, and Skelly Drive. There must be many hundreds of businesses with a Sheridan Road address, including Sheridan Lanes, a bowling alley with a beautifully animated neon sign.

City Council, the ball is in your court.

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1 Comments

Mark said:

James W Denver, after whom Denver, CO was named, killed a man in a duel. Do we want a street named after an admitted murderer?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 17, 2013 2:56 AM.

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