In what many called a “prophetic move,” two Crown Heights subway stations were officially renamed to honor the late civil rights hero Medgar Wiley Evers on Thursday.

Politicians from across Brooklyn and beyond and community leaders and members gathered at the newly-named President Street-Medgar Evers College subway station in a celebration of the renaming and the legacy left by the iconic leader.

Assemblymember Diana Richardson and Senator Zellnor Myrie pushed the name change of the Franklin Avenue and President Street stations through in time for the 50th anniversary of Medgar Evers College. The stations will now officially be known as Franklin Avenue-Medgar Evers College on the 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines, and President Street-Medgar Evers College on the 2 and 5 lines.

Subway stations renamed for Medgar Evers. Photo: Anna Bradley-Smith for BK Reader.

Richardson, a proud alumnus of Medgar Evers College and a lifelong resident of the Crown Heights community, said the moment filled her heart with, “so much pride and joy.”

“Medgar Evers College, like all of the other CUNY campuses around the city, has impacted our community so much so that it has become a local cultural institution,” she said.

“That recognition is especially meaningful as it is happening during this critical period of change in our nation’s history. I am excited to see the community come out to celebrate this well-deserved recognition of the college.”

Subway stations renamed for Medgar Evers. Photo: Anna Bradley-Smith for BK Reader.

The project included updating nearly 2,500 electronic maps onboard subway trains, recording new announcements and replacing signage throughout stations that cover pillars, entrances and exits.

Myrie said the history and legacy of Medgar Evers had never felt more alive than during the current movement for justice and there had never been a better time to honor his legacy.

“As we literally put one of our most cherished institutions on the map, we honor Medgar Evers’ life of service to Black people and to our country and recommit to continuing his work today,” he said. “He was an inspirational leader and role model and honoring his memory at this moment in our city’s and nation’s history is the right thing to do”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams read a letter penned by Medgar Evers’ wife Myrie Evers and the Evers family that said the renaming was an honor and “a testament to my husband’s legacy as a civil rights activist.”

“Medgar Wiley Evers was a tower of strength to our family and a treasured ancestor of the community and nation. One of the key leaders of the civil rights movement, he was a passionate advocate for social justice, education, voting rights and racial equality and his legacy makes clear his fight against prejudice and violence towards Black people and their supporters,” the letter read.

“It is our hope that the renaming of these stations will inspire and enable people of all ages for generations to come to understand and remember his contribution and sacrifices forever. Each time commuters enter and depart these stations they will be reminded of the significance and the resilience and strength of those who endured slavery but nevertheless have fought against racism and injustice for people of African descent throughout the world history.”

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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