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Street renamed after civil rights advocate Dewey Roberts, Sr.

6:17 PM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
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Knoxville City officials renamed Keller Street in East Knoxville after civil rights advocate Dewey Roberts, Sr.

Roberts was a long-time educator and served as the president of Knoxville Colored Teachers League.

He graduated from Knoxville College in 1926 and served as administrator at Heiskell, Green Elementary Schools and Austin Evening High.

Roberts fought for black and white teachers to earn equal pay in the 1930s. His son, Dewey Roberts II, said his family was honored by the tribute to his father's legacy.

"I'm very proud of what he did, and I'm proud of this street because it of what it symbolizes, especially when it says Dewey Roberts intersects with Martin Luther King Boulevard," said Roberts. "They were civil rights folks that really made a difference in the communities."

Roberts passed away in 1976. The Beck Cultural Exchange Center requested that the street be named after Roberts last year.

Roberts was nominated for "Who's Who in Colored America," but declined because he believed that fighting for equality was a privilege, not an endeavor for public recognition.

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