Updated Thursday, Nov. 7.
Even though Boston voters Tuesday rejected changing the name of Dudley Square to Nubian Square, precincts in and around Roxbury’s commercial district overwhelmingly endorsed the idea.
City officials have said the nonbinding question could only be posed citywide, but they would pay close attention to the election results near the square. Two-thirds of ballots that gave a response in the 16 precincts supported the change, according to the city’s analysis.
That outcome clears the way for the Nubian Square Coalition that brought the question to the ballot to ask the city’s Public Improvement Commission for an official name change.
“I am proud of the community for their continued advocacy on this issue,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement to WGBH News. “We will be meeting with the organizers to review the results and discuss next steps.”
Sadiki Kambon, the leader of the Nubian Square Coalition, confirmed that the group has been in touch with the administration about next steps.
“It clearly shows that the community is supportive of what we’re trying to do,” Kambon said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We’re pleased at this point, but we’re not content until everything’s been finalized with the name.”
The ballot question was controversial among Roxbury-based businesses and community institutions.
Upon learning of the unofficial results, Joyce Stanley, the newly-retired executive director of Dudley Square Main Streets, said: “That’s interesting. I’m still going call it Dudley because that’s what it is to me.”
City Councilor Kim Janey, who represents the Dudley Square precincts, admitted with laughter that adjusting to the seemingly imminent name change would also take her some time.
“Old habits are hard to break,” she said, pointing to a different successful renaming campaign. “There are still a lot of people who call Malcolm X Park, Washington Park. But, the people have spoken, and given the wide margin ... it’s clear that in these precincts in this community in Roxbury, that voters wanted to change the name.”
In a Thursday phone interview, Janey applauded efforts across the country "to confront our racist past and present, and to confront monuments, or names of squares, or streets" rooted in racism.
“In terms of our city, I think we have a lot more work to do to ensure that there is equitable opportunity, that our economy is inclusive [and] that we are closing the wealth gap,” she said.
“We, certainly, as a city, will respect the will of the voters and I will continue to focus on issues that will improve the lives of residents in my district.”