The Washington Post

Lockridge name will go on new Southwest library

Lockridge’s Jan. 20 funeral (Mark Gail/WASHINGTON POST)

Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) introduced an amendment to the renaming bill that represented something of a compromise between community leaders and the D.C. Public Library Board, who wanted the library named after the Bellevue neighborhood, and political leaders including Barry and Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who wanted the library named for Lockridge, who died in January at 63.

The library, at South Capitol and Atlantic streets SW, will be called the “William O’Neal Lockridge Library at Bellevue.”

Council members Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) and David A. Catania (I-At Large) voted against the bill, citing concerns about whether the library was an appropriate tribute to Lockridge and whether it was proper for the council to overturn a vote of the library board. But Barry and others said the renaming was an appropriate tribute to the longtime Ward 8 activist.

There was no mention of the op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post written by board chair John W. Hill that raised concerns about Lockridge’s “questionable relationship with the library.”

”Lockridge had plenty of political connections but no real connection to the library’s development, design or operation,” he wrote. “The library board is unaware of any accomplishments that justify such an honor.”

Hill, who is also CEO of the powerful Federal City Council, had previously told me he would resign if the council proceeded with the renaming.

“It would be very difficult for me to cut a ribbon on a library that’s named William Lockridge Library,” he said.

Wells, notably, said Tuesday that a council lawyer had advised him that the library board could override the council’s decision if it wanted.

Hill could not be immediately reached Tuesday.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.


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