Virginia city renames street from Confederate general to Apollo 11 astronaut

Neil Armstrong (MGN)
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HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — UPDATE (Feb. 27):

The Hampton City Council has voted to place the name of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong on a road which had been named for a Confederate general.

The road was named for Confederate general John B. Magruder, but city officials said the change happened only because a NASA employee last July emailed Mayor Donnie Tuck, suggesting naming it for the famous astronaut, The Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday.

Council members, who approved the change on Wednesday, said the name change is a way to honor Armstrong, who was the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event. Without that email, they said, the issue wouldn’t have come to their attention. .

The four-lane divided thoroughfare was named for Magruder, who led Confederate troops against the U.S. in the Battle of the Peninsula. Officials say the name change will take place in July 2021.

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The Hampton City Council is considering a resolution that would change a street named for a Confederate general to one named for Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

The city council's vote is scheduled for Wednesday, the Daily Press of Newport News reported. The resolution calls for renaming Magruder Boulevard to Neil Armstrong Parkway. The council had considered the name change last December.

Pubic Works Director Jason Mitchell said Hampton has been home to NASA Langley Research Center for more than a century and wanted to recognize the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Currently, the road is named for John Bankhead Magruder, who led troops against the U.S. in the Battle of the Peninsula. City officials have said renaming a section of the road for Armstrong is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Armstrong and the Apollo 11 lunar landing in July 1969.

Officials at NASA declined to comment until after the council votes.