Boston commission approves Red Sox plan to rename Yawkey Way over racist past

Yawkey Way is no more. On Thursday, Boston’s Public Improvement Commission unanimously approved Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s request to change the name of Yawkey Way, according to the Boston Globe. The street will now be known as Jersey Street, its original name.

The reason behind the change, which Red Sox owner John Henry requested back in February, was inclusivity. Yawkey Way is named after former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, and Yawkey’s Red Sox were the last team in the majors to promote an African-American player. They didn’t do it until 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson made his debut. At the time, Yawkey was accused of being a racist.

Take a look down Yawkey Way: 

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Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park in Boston
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Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park in Boston
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19: A general veiw of Yawkey Way befoer a game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19: A general veiw of Yawkey Way befoer a game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 23: A sign for the Yawkey Way street hangs across from the sign honoring former Red Sox player David Ortiz at the newly renamed David Ortiz Drive hangs from a post across from Fenway Park on Jun. 22, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 4: Fans enter through Yawkey Way before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers on July 4, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18: A general view of Yawkey Way outide of Fenway Park before a game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 18, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 13: Fans walk down Yawkey Way outside of Fenway Park before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Boston Red Sox on April 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The name change certainly won’t wipe away the team’s racial past, which Henry has said still haunts him, but it does publicly show that the Red Sox don’t support the kind of retrograde thinking that Yawkey was accused of representing.

The Yawkey Foundation isn’t thrilled with the name change, though, which was clear in the statement it released on Thursday.

The original statement the Red Sox released in February praised all the charitable work the foundation has done, and made clear that the name change was not an indictment on the foundation itself.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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