Ellis Avenue to be renamed after two-time Grammy winner Bobby Rush

Bobby Rush
Bobby Rush
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 11:01 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Ellis Avenue will soon be renamed after two-time Grammy winner Bobby Rush.

Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to rename the street from I-20 to West Capitol Street.

The measure will become official in 30 days.

Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks introduced the measure and thanked his colleagues for the vote.

Banks recalled a comment Rush made at a recent event.

“What he said was is he was 87 and he hopes we could take advantage of him while he was here,” Banks recalled. “He hopes to get to see it before he leaves here.”

Rush spoke to the council last April when Banks first proposed the renaming. He shared several stories of the racism he and his family experienced in the Jim Crow South.

“I’m in tears because I remember three white guys, two riding a horse and one guy leading a horse, when my daddy was getting hay out of a barn as a black man. They asked my mom, ‘what are you doing with this n-word.? [And she said,] ‘that’s what I am too,’” he said. “She had to go into the store and prove she was a Black woman to save my daddy’s life.”

In other news, the council is considering renaming Woodrow Wilson Avenue after another Jackson legend, the late Walter Payton.

Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes introduced an ordinance to rename two streets, Woodrow Wilson from I-55 to Parkside Place, and Bullard Street from Parkside Place to Boling Avenue. after the Super Bowl-winning running back.

“To honor Walter Payton, we’re sending the right spirit across the United States of America, because people love Walter Payton,” Stokes said. “This man is really someone who has exemplified true manhood, true citizenship, and he was proud to be considered a Mississippian.”

Banks supported the measure, saying it “speaks to a lot historically and could add to... tourism.”

“I don’t know what the future of the stadium and timeline would be, but most of our traffic to the JSU Stadium... Memorial Stadium, goes down Woodrow Wilson,” he said. “It would be a wonderful thing, while people are going to the game, to be going down Walter Patyon.”

The measure is being referred to a committee for further consideration. It was not known when it would be brought back up for a vote.

Copyright 2022 WLBT. All rights reserved.