By John Dorschner
More than FIVE days after Harriet Tubman Highway was formally dedicated, black plastic still covers the sign on West Dixie at NE 119th Street.
The dedication was Saturday at 11 a.m. by the Vizcaya Metrorail Station on South Dixie in toney Coconut Grove. About a dozen political leaders attended to celebrate adding the Tubman sign to the road that will still be called Dixie until the Republican-led Legislature decides to change it. A group removed the white plastic covering that sign.
Two Department of Transportation staffers said the other signs would be unwrapped after the ceremony. Those Tubman signs are in far South Dade at the southernmost part of South Dixie, at West Dixie and NE 163rd Street — and at NE 119th.
As of 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, the sign at NE 119th was still covered in plastic.
Here’s the timeline:
In February 2020, the county commission unanimously voted to get rid of the Dixie name with its “toxic” history and rename the various Dixie roads the Harriet Tubman highway.
In the 2020 Legislature, pols balked at getting rid of the Dixie name but agreed to make the road a memorial highway, adding Tubman’s name to Dixie. That move required the 10 effected municipalities in Dade to approve the move. Nine did so quickly. The 10th, Coral Gables, rejected the move, but after a public outcry approved the Tubman addition in May.
It then took more than four months for the formal ceremony to take place, at first because the Gables was slow in sending its approval of the move to the state, and then because the pols needed to find a place in their schedules when all the leaders would be available.
West Dixie has always been something of a forgotten road — a mix of auto repair shops, small restaurants, bars, a gun shop and storefront offices offering tax, immigration and cell phone repair services. Many of the politicians present at the Vizcaya ceremony represent districts in North Dade, but that didn’t seem to lead to the removal of the plastic that has been covering the signs for months.