Wilmington council to consider renaming N. 3rd St. after civil rights icon

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Joseph McNeil

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council next month will consider renaming N. 3rd Street after a Port City native and civil rights icon.

The Wilmington City Council will take up a resolution at their September 3 meeting that, if approved, would designate N. 3rd St. from Market St. to Davis St. in honor of Retired Maj. Gen. Joseph McNeil.

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McNeil is one of the principle organizers and members of the Greensboro 4. The men were a group of college students who refused to give up their seats in a Woolworth Lunch Counter in Greensboro in 1960. The sit-in was a pivotal moment for the civil rights movement in the American south.

McNeil is a native of Wilmington and a graduate of Williston Senior High School.

“Gen. McNeil played a major role in the civil rights movement, and we are so proud to call him a Wilmingtonian,” Mayor Bill Saffo said in a statement. “Honoring him with a street designation in our downtown will remind people of the great sacrifice and contribution that he made.”



If the resolution is approved, the city says official name and addresses on N. 3rd St. will not change. However the city would put up signage to recognize and honor McNeil. If council approves this resolution, it plans to also consider a resolution to pursue an application with the NCDOT to similarly designate 3rd Street south of Market Street, which is under NCDOT control.