Move to rename Talmadge Bridge draws criticism on the web - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Move to rename Talmadge Bridge draws online criticism

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Last week, Savannah City Council, without much publicity and attention, passed a resolution presented by alderman John Hall asking the Georgia Assembly to rename the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge, named after the late Georgia Governor.

By Sunday night, the news was gaining plenty of attention. At the time, Hall and council members, citing Talmadge as a "divisive" leader with a "disgraceful" legacy as a supporter of segregation and oppression, wanted to see his name go, and a new name take his place.

They have 18 days in the current legislative session to get the change done. 

Council passed their resolution to change the name of the bridge Thursday, and will go to the General Assembly where the Chatham County legislative delegation has pledged their support, but would have to work quickly to make it reality.

The options being discussed as alternatives include the Savannah River Bridge, The Great Savannah Bridge and the General James Edward Oglethorpe Bridge.

Hall, Mayor Edna Jackson, and others in favor of the change say anything but Talmadge.

"That name, the Talmadge name, is synonymous with a terrible past and what we want to do is bring Savannah and the State of Georgia forward," Hall said. "I think it is a disgrace for Savannah to keep it any longer."

The move has not been met with an overwhelmingly positive reception. Some critics question the decision to try and erase history, while the public has taken to social media, sounding off on whether or not city leaders should be worried about renaming a bridge at a time when they feel crime and violence is a concern. 

Hall defends the city's actions, saying it is a timing issue. He says the bridge being renamed is not a priority issue, but since they have the legislative delegations support right now, and a short window of time to act, the city decided to move forward with the renaming resolution effort.

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