Street honoring KKK leader renamed after student-led effort
MALVERNE, N.Y. (AP) — A street that honored a leader of the Ku Klux Klan in New York has a new name after a yearslong campaign led by high school students.
The village board of Malverne, on Long Island, voted last year to rename Lindner Place, named after Paul Lindner, a banker who helped develop the village more than a century ago and also served as great titan of the New York State Klan.
The change became official last week when Lindner Place became Acorn Way.
"The true meaning of justice is righting the wrongs that came before you,” Malverne High School sophomore Olivia Brown told WCBS.
Brown was part of a group of students who began researching Lindner in 2020 and learned he was a Klan leader.
Students pressed for the street name to be changed in school forums and with the village board, which voted to change the name in September 2022.
They cheered as the new Acorn Way signs were unveiled Jan. 26.
Malverne High School senior Jamila Smith told WCBS, “This whole initiative showed me I do want to step up and be a leader.”
Lorna Lewis, Malverne’s schools superintendent, told the Long Island Herald, “I believe you’ve just witnessed the power of the Maverick public education and what our students can do when supported in their pursuit of civic engagement."
Many Americans associate the Ku Klux Klan with the South, but the group's rallies and cross burnings drew large crowds in New York in the 1920s. The Klan of that era targeted Catholic and Jewish communities, as well as Black people.