Dear City of Columbus,
When the Jones Family began the venture of renaming the block of Fourth Street South located between College Street and Main Street known as “Catfish Alley,” 1,500 signatures were gathered in favor of the name change. Support of the name change included tenants on Fourth Street South.
Since that area had been ignored and overlooked for a number of years, we decided to make the street name change request to pay homage to our mother, Ms. Sallie Mae Jones. We felt that consideration would have been given based on her contribution to Columbus and that her business, Jones Restaurant has existed since the 1940s. It is the only black-owned business left from the booming era of prominent African Americans in that particular block.
Our mission was to make the upcoming Centennial Celebration for Sallie Mae Jones a focal point for rejuvenation and a stepping-stone for other African Americans who made contributions in Catfish Alley and Columbus. It was not our intention to create controversy or dissension in the community.
For some reason, our mission has been misinterpreted and misrepresented. Therefore, we decided to rescind our request to rename the street. Controversy or dissension does not represent the legacy of Sallie Mae Jones. A special thanks to those who supported the effort.
Laura Jones Chalmers
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.