Stevie Wonder asks City Council to rename Jefferson Davis Pkwy after Norman Francis

Louisiana News

Irvin Mayfield, Troy Andrews and Stevie Wonder perform with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra at House of Blues on May 1, 2016, in New Orleans, LA. (Erika Goldring Photo)

NEW ORLEANS – Stevie Wonder is ready for a big change in New Orleans.

The legendary musician wrote a letter to City Councilmember Helena Moreno advocating for the city to change the name of Jefferson Davis Parkway to honor former Xavier University president Norman Francis.

“Love’s in need of love today, and I am writing to express my love and respect for an extraordinary human being and my dear friend, Dr. Norman C. Francis,” Wonder begins the letter, a copy of which Moreno posted to her Twitter account. “Throughout the entirety of Dr. Francis’ life, he has worked to advance the greater good.”

Wonder goes on to build his case for Francis, laying out the highlights of Francis’ storied career. That long history of excellence in education coupled with civil leadership makes Francis the perfect person to rename the street after, Wonder said.

“The future must reflect the best of who we are,” Wonder wrote. “We must honor and cherish those who inspire and unite us, as compared to those who dishonored us and did not treat all people as created equal.”

Wonder said the country needs to “elevate those whose lives and good works respected all people,” and implored the City Council not to let politics or resistance stand in the way of the proposed name change.

“Had Jefferson Davis has his way, blacks like me and Dr. Francis would not have the equal rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” he wrote. “History has clearly shown that Jefferson Davis’ legacy is full of hate, and should not be revered by any civilized society.”

Wonder signed the letter “Stevland Morris Aka Stevie Wonder” and sealed it with with his thumbprints.

Read the entire letter below:

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