Marin County supervisors to vote on renaming Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

The Marin County Board of Supervisors and the San Anselmo Town Council will vote on Tuesday whether to change the name of a major roadway. 

Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is a 43-mile road that cuts through five jurisdictions in Marin. 

The Fairfax Town Council voted last week to change the name of the section that runs through its community, while the towns of Ross and Larkspur have voted to keep the name.

"Having this Sir Francis Drake name change has been an important vehicle towards getting more of our community members to stop and think about race, inequality, and racism," said Marin Supervisor Katie Rice.

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The idea of renaming the boulevard stems from discussions on how society now views key figures from the past. Many are taking a closer look at Drake, a 16th-century English explorer who landed in what is now Marin County to repair his ship.

"You could call him an adventurer. You could call him a merchant. You could call him an opportunist," said Dominican University assistant history professor Jordan Lieser. He added that Drake was also a slave trader. "We know at one point that Drake himself was given command of over 150 slaves," said Lieser.

No new potential names have been put forth. The Native American Coast Miwok Tribe considers Marin their ancestral land and feels that they deserve more representation than Drake.

"The Native American community felt it was an opportunity to consider what symbols we have in Marin County," said Fairfax Town Councilman Chance Cutrano.

Renaming will mean a new address for businesses.

"I will still use my stationary. The mailman still knows the street.," said Jim Ringseis, who owns a picture frame shop in Fairfax 

"If there is a way to compromise between renaming everything to fit the times or to keep the names so we can learn from them," said Tyler of Marin. 

Marin County officials hope that those municipalities that favor a name change can agree on one to minimize any confusion