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DeBarr Ave. in process of getting new name after Norman City Council vote

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NORMAN, Okla. - The Norman City Council voted unanimously to start the process of renaming a controversial Norman street.

The street is DeBarr Avenue, named after Edwin DeBarr, a former KKK leader and one of the first professors at the University of Oklahoma.

Activists and one of the council members, Breea Clark, called for the name to be changed.

As it stands, changing a street name requires the support of 75 percent of the property owners living along the street in question.

Only about 55 percent of those living along DeBarr support the change.

Now, those at the meeting discussed a resolution that would allow an oversight committee to change the street name changing policy.

A group of activists called the 'Norman Citizens for Racial Justice' came to the meeting chanting, protesting the street name and demanding it be changed.

"For the past 30 years, Norman's been erasing history by not addressing this," said protestor Deon Osborne.

For over two hours, they and others in attendance took the opportunity to share why they believe the change must happen.

However, many say the resolution doesn't go far enough.

Some criticize the resolution's wording, saying it absolves the city council of any responsibility for the name because DeBarr named the street himself without permission from the city.

Many insisted the city council should bypass normal protocol and change the name of the street immediately.

"It really shows a lot about the city's unwillingness to address our racial history," Osborne said.

The resolution included a last minute amendment requiring the street be renamed no later than June 1, 2018.

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