ROANOKE, Va. – On Tuesday night, Roanoke City Council held a meeting to discuss several things, including a new apartment complex, a major SE Roanoke development, and the renaming of the Poff Federal Building in Downtown Roanoke.
During the meeting, the city council threw their support behind efforts to rename the building and a park for prominent members of the community.
Roanoke City Council unanimously approved a resolution to support federal legislation to change the name of the Richard H. Poff Federal Building to the Reuben E. Lawson building.
Lawson was a Roanoke native and an attorney who played a key role in the civil rights movement in the Commonwealth.
The idea was proposed back in October by John Fishwick Jr., a Roanoke-based lawyer, who had also served as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, as we reported.
“While Mr. Poff should be commended for his service ... it is an unfortunate historical fact that Mr. Poff signed the Declaration of Constitutional Principles, known informally as the Southern Manifesto, in opposition to racial integration of public places, and voted against the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1968, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Fishwick said.
The Poff Federal Building was completed in 1975 — making it the perfect time for the name to be changed, according to Fishwick.
Those in support of the change are asking lawmakers in Congress to pass legislation to rename the building.