GREENSBORO, N.C. - City leaders hope to honor the life of a brave teenager, who helped integrate a Triad school in 1957.
After getting a request earlier this year, they're working to rename Aycock Street, named after Charles Aycock, who was North Carolina's governor between 1901-05. He was a champion of education, but was also an advocate for white supremacy and segregation.
On the table now - renaming all or part of Aycock Street and Westover Terrace. The city would change the name to Josephine Boyd Street -- in honor of the first African American student to attend what is now Grimsley High School.
After the historic Supreme Court decision to integrate schools in the 1950s. Josephine Boyd Bradley was one of the very first.
“She knew so much about everything that was going on, she wanted to show the world that if given the same opportunity, I too can succeed in life,” said Fannie Thompson, Josephine’s younger sister.
Thompson describes her late sister as an academic and a lover of learning. After her junior year, Josephine transferred from Dudley, to what is now Grimsley High. It was 1957.
“She was scared. Yes, anytime that you were the only person of color in a community of people who are not like you, there is some scared. You don't know what to expect, and especially then you did not know what to expect,” said Thompson.
She graduated the following year - and went on to get many more degrees, including a doctorate.
Greensboro city leaders are considering a name change to honor her. One option does away with the Aycock Street name. While those requesting the change say this has nothing to do with getting rid of the Aycock name - Thompson says it's time her sister got the recognition she deserves.
“Any history that we now have, we want it to be known, just as Aycock's history was known, so why shouldn't something that has been good for the country be named after someone who did something good?” Thompson said.
Wednesday afternoon, city council will hold an open house about the potential changes. It's from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Old North State Boy Scout Council Office.
Since 2016, there have been a handful of removals of the Aycock name. UNCG removed the 'Aycock' name from its auditorium on campus. In the spring of this year, Aycock Middle School was renamed, ‘Swann Middle.’ Over the summer, the Aycock Historic District was renamed over the summer to the Dunleath Historic District.