KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee State Representative Rick Staples secured honors for 3 Knox County African-American Trailblazers, Friday, after passing legislation.

That legislation states the following:

  • Designate the Jackson Avenue ramp and bridge that intersects with Gay Street in Knox County as “Reverend Harold Middlebrook Way”.  Rev. Middlebrook is a dedicated civil rights activist who became a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and directed that organization’s Selma office during the group’s Alabama boycott.  Rev. Middlebrook was a friend and ally of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and helped bring Dr. King to Memphis in 1968 to march in support of striking sanitation workers.  He was with the legendary civil rights leader at the Lorraine Motel the night Dr. King was assassinated.
  • Designate the Interstate 275 Bridge over Elm Street/Bernard Avenue in Knox County as “Diane Jordan Pass”. Ms. Jordan was the first African-American woman to serve on the Knox County Commission.  Known for her glamorous cowboy hats, Ms. Jordan was elected to four terms on the Commission, serving from 1994-2007.
  • Designate the I-40 bridgeover 17th street in Knox County as “Theotis Robinson Jr. Pass.” Mr. Robinson was the first African-American undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Robinson also served on the Knoxville City Council, was vice president of economic development for the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair and retired as vice president of equality and diversity of the University of Tennessee system.

“I am so proud that I am able to bring this honor to 3 icons of Knox County whose actions have not only shaped my life, but literally the lives of thousands of other residents of Knox County, of Tennessee and of this country,” said Rep. Staples.