Palm Beach News

Barack Obama Highway Might Be Coming to Palm Beach

The mayor of Riviera Beach wants to change the name Old Dixie Highway and rename it Barack Obama Highway.

Mayor Thomas Masters is on a personal quest to have the old road renamed after the current president and hopes his constituents can back him up on the plan.

Masters says he's looking to change the name of the street that runs along along railroad tracks through industrial and residential areas and crosses Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard after he took his case to his Facebook page, where he announced his vision.

Masters says it just makes sense to replace the name Dixie and rename it for the president, adding that the name "Old Dixie" conjures up negative imagery.

"When I think of the name, all I can think of is slavery and horrible things," he told Gossip Extra.

"Now, renaming Old Dixie after President Barack Obama makes sense," he added.

Of course, anything having to do with Obama will likely bring on detractors and controversy, but Masters believes history is enough reason for the name change.

"No matter how one feels about the president, he is a worldwide historic figure," he says.

But, so far -- at least on his Facebook -- Riviera Beach residents seem to be backing the idea.

Masters' next move is to get things rolling, and he's asked his staff to come up with details for the procedure that can make the name change official.

To make it all happen, Riviera Beach City Council would have to approve the change. After that, the name change would need the approval of Palm Beach County, since the road technically belongs to the county.

The Old Dixie Highway that runs through Riviera Beach once served as a marker for segregation. Singer Island, which is east of I-95, was an all-white suburban area, while black neighborhoods resided across the highway to the west.

Masters now hopes to turn what was once the symbol of segregation in his town to an area where two main roads are named after historical African-Americans, MLK, and Obama.

A message left at Masters' office by New Times was unreturned.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph