Don’t have a whole lotta love for Robert E. Lee Road? There’s now a movement to give the street’s name to another Robert.
A group calling itself “Keep Austin Weird. Not Racist.” released a “peaceful video-proposal” Wednesday to rename the South Austin street for Led Zeppelin frontman and former Austin resident Robert Plant.
Following a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, calls to rename the street, named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, gathered steam via an online petition. (The Charlottesville rally reportedly began over the planned removal of a statue of Lee from the city’s Emancipation Park, which also used to be named after the general.) On Tuesday, City Council Member Ann Kitchen said she would spearhead the Austin name-change effort, which also has the backing of Mayor Steve Adler.
Plant, the video proposal says, embodies Austin’s values better than Lee.
“Robert E. Lee Road is not what represents us,” the group behind the video said in a news release. “If anything, we’re more like Robert Plant Road. Aren’t we the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,' after all? Plus, the dude actually lived here.”
You can watch the video proposal on YouTube.
There’s even a mock-up of what a Robert Plant Road sign would look like.
Photo: Keep Austin Weird. Not Racist./Via Keep Austin Weird. Not Racist.
Recent precedent exists in Austin for renaming or removing Confederate monuments. From the American-Statesman’s Philip Jankowski and Elizabeth Findell:
“A similar push led the Austin school board to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School in May 2016 after a white supremacist killed nine African-Americans during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. That mass killing also helped prompt the University of Texas to remove a bronze statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the Main Mall.”
Austin and Plant, as previously mentioned, have a history. The rocker lived in the Texas capital for a time, dated Austin musician Patty Griffin and reportedly loved Fiesta Mart. And of course, no matter the fate of Robert E. Lee Road, Austin will always love a street-sign monument to a beloved musician.