Robert E. Lee Road may instead honor woman ‘who dedicated her life to civil service'

AUSTIN - About one month after Austin City Council announced it would begin the process of renaming Robert E. Lee Road, Council Member Ann Kitchen filed an application to honor a former U.S. treasurer with Austin roots by naming the road after her.

Kitchen’s office released a press release Wednesday about the application to rename the road to honor Azie Taylor Morton during the street name change process. Morton, who died in 2003, was a teacher, civil servant, and is the only African American to serve as the U.S. treasurer. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve from 1977 to 1981.

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“After reviewing ideas brought forward by our community, and after discussions with several neighbors and community members, I am proposing this change because I believe the City should consider honoring a strong woman with roots in our local community who dedicated her life to civil service,” Kitchen said. “Changing this street name is an important step for healing our community given the injustices of the past.  While history itself will never change, nor do we forget the lessons of our history, we must ensure that those we memorialize reflect and honor our own values.”

According to the release, Morton moved to Austin from Dale, Texas to attend high school at the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School, a charity sponsored school for black children. There were no high schools for African American people in her hometown. She graduated high school at 16 and was admitted to the first class of the newly merged Huston-Tillotson University in 1952, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in commercial education.

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