A group of Long Island students is leading the movement to erase part of their village's racist past, as they fight to change the name of a street that was named after a Ku Klux Klan leader.
A street sign that has stood for decades is the focus of some community soul searching in the village of Malverne. Lindner Place is named after Paul Lindner, an original village resident and farmer.
However, a group of Malverne High School students say the man was also a local leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
"He led a bunch of cross burnings and other displays of injustice and racism," said student Jamila Smith.
The students all did research on Lindner, creating artwork, poems and documentaries. They even uncovered claims that Lindner’s KKK chapter burned down a Brooklyn orphanage.
"Right now our main focus is getting Paul Lindner off that street," Olivia Brown said.
The topic has been debated for years, and will finally come to a vote, as the village board will examine the students’ proposal.
"We want to have an impact on our community and this is something we think is wrong," said student Sabrina Ramharakh.
Like the recent battle over some statues across the nation, the debate has forced the community to grapple with its past. And not everyone in the village agrees with making this change, the students said.
"We made a lot of information public and there have been a lot of people who don’t care. They are set in their ways," said student Justin Obiol.
The students aren’t sure what the village board will do Thursday night, but they are proud they took on this fight and lit the fuse of the public debate.
"It’s really the symbolism behind it and what it stands for and what we want to portray ourselves as," Smith said.