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Civic Leader Leon Williams To Get San Diego Street Named After Him

Leon Williams, a former San Diego city councilman, is pictured, Aug. 3, 2016.

Photo by Brooke Ruth

Above: Leon Williams, a former San Diego city councilman, is pictured, Aug. 3, 2016.

The San Diego City Council heaped praise on former political and civic leader Leon Williams Tuesday in approving a plan to name a block of E Street in his honor.

Councilman Chris Ward said the former council member and county supervisor's name will be added to the 3000 block of the roadway. The name of E Street itself along that stretch in Golden Hill will not be changed.

RELATED: Former Councilman’s Biography Highlights Pioneering Contributions To San Diego

Williams, now 95, was the first black owner of a home on the E Street block in 1947, became the first black council member in 1969 and remains the only black county supervisor, having joined that body in 1982. He served on the Metropolitan Transit System's Board of Directors until he retired in 2006.

Photo by KPBS

Leon Williams is shown in his San Diego City Council office in 1969.

Ward said Williams championed downtown revitalization, transit improvements and creation of the county Public Defender's Office.

"Now, more than ever, it is crucial to honor and recognize those individuals that bring diverse communities together, and I can think of no one more deserving than Mr. Leon Williams," said Ward, who represents the area. "My office, along with a few special guests, will be unveiling Leon Williams Drive on Friday, Oct. 20, at 3:30 p.m., on the 3000 block of E Street in Golden Hill, where Mr. Williams still calls home."

Councilwoman Barbara Bry told Williams that her first husband was a roommate of one of his staffers when they were dating.

"You have always been a role model for me for the importance of always keeping discourse civil," Bry said. "And you pushed forward with initiatives that were controversial at their time in a relentless, civil way with much success."

Williams thanked the council members for the honor.

"It's tremendous being here and being recognized for things that I thought everybody felt," Williams said.

RELATED: ‘Star Wars’ Actor Mark Hamill Will Get His Own Roadway In Clairemont

"I thought everybody felt good about everybody, and everybody want to do as much as they could for everybody," Williams said. "I felt that way my whole life."

Others honored in the city's honorary street naming program that began this year have been community leader Kathleen Harmon in Skyline; "Star Wars" actor Mark Hamill in Clairemont; and oceanographer Walter Munk in La Jolla.

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