Building named after KKK Klansman renamed after Black judge

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 9:02 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Monday, Congressman Steve Cohen hosted the renaming ceremony of the Memphis federal building for the late U.S. District Judge Odell Horton.

Cohen added Horton’s name to the federal building as his first bill in Congress in 2007.

Last December, President Biden signed Cohen’s bill into law to remove the name of former Klu Klux Klan member and Congressman Clifford Davis from the downtown federal office building and courthouse.

The building’s new signage was unveiled at the ceremony.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Cohen said in part:

“This is a good morning. It is the end of a past that needs to pass and the beginning of a future whose future is now, and has been, and will be…

“One of the first things I did as a Congressperson was to hyphenate this building. It became known as the Clifford Davis – Odell Horton Federal Office Building. I considered naming it for Judge Horton alone at the time but didn’t know if it was the right time. The right time is now.”

Other speakers at the renaming ceremony included S. Thomas Anderson, Chief United States District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee; Bernice B. Donald, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; and Odell Horton Jr., son of Judge Horton.

Horton Jr. said his father’s legacy goes beyond a name on a building, however.

“I think he’s done very well in terms of how he operated a court, how he ran his court, and how he treated people,” said Horton Jr. “And I think he understood from his background the things that they needed to to do be successful.”

The entire event, including the Congressman’s remarks, can be seen here.

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