Following Biden's signature, federal building in Memphis no longer bares name of Klansman

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  • Odell Horton
    United States federal judge
Clifford Davis-Odell Horton Federal Building in Memphis Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Clifford Davis-Odell Horton Federal Building in Memphis Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Following a stroke of a pen from President Joe Biden, 167 N. Main St. is now known as the Odell Horton Federal Building.

Biden signed HR 390 into law Tuesday, following a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen to drop the name of the late Clifford Davis, a vocal proponent of segregation with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

The congressman successfully pushed to have Horton's name added to the federal building in 2007 after his election to Congress.

Horton's legal career culminated in his 1980 appointment to a federal bench in West Tennessee as the first Black federal judge in the district since Reconstruction. During his decades-long legal career, he also served as the first Black assistant U.S. attorney in West Tennessee.

SENATE VOTE: Senate vote clears way for renaming of Memphis' downtown federal building exclusively after Odell Horton

A formal renaming ceremony will take place in 2022, Cohen's office said.

The new name comes the day after the four-year anniversary of the last significant effort to dissociate public spaces in Memphis from white supremacy; on Dec. 20, 2017, the monuments of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis — two prominent figures in the Confederacy — were removed from public parks.

Micaela Watts is a reporter for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at micaela.watts@commercialappeal.com.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis federal building drops name of Klansman now just Odell Horton

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