The fate of the name of Dudley Square in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood will soon be in the hands of voters.
The Boston City Council unanimously approved a petition Wednesday to create a local ballot question on whether the rename the historically black commercial area to Nubian Square.
"This group has been pretty vocal and pretty outspoken about it and they're saying there's a lot of support for it. Tthey presented to me a couple thousand signatures, so we’re going to let– see where it takes its course," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.
The square is currently named after Thomas Dudley, a governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s who supporters of the name change say oversaw the passage of laws that permitted slavery.
The supporters want to base the name on the ancient African civilization of Nubia, saying it's a better fit for the district.
"If the history ... hurts certain people, like, maybe just change it," Boston resident Christopher Derosla said.
"Just have a new identity, I think, get away from the old and come up with something new and just have a new meaning behind why we come down here," added Boston resident Xavier Hackett.
But some residents feel like it's just covering up the history of what truly happened.
"You know the history, we were sold there and we were sold there, this is Dudley Station for a reason, so it's a landmark. Let's leave it alone," life-long Roxbury resident Nelterie McMillion said.
And others think, although well-intentioned, the name change might create too much confusion and be unfair to business owners who use Dudley Square as part of their identity.
"I just think giving another name, everybody would be clueless, like they'll still think like that's still Dudley," Roxbury resident Pablo Brown said.
"Nobody's going to know it by Nubian, they still won't call it Nubian, it will always be Dudley, it will always be Dudley Square," added Roxbury resident Monalisa Campbell.
The approval of the petition gets the question on the November ballot. It's a non-binding vote, but if it passes city leaders have said they will work to change the name.
Boston officials last year approved changing the name of Yawkey Way, the street outside Fenway Park, because of allegations former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey was a racist who resisted hiring black ballplayers in the 1940s and '50s.