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Josiah Henson Parkway Street Renaming

On February 24, 2022 the Montgomery County Planning Board approved a resolution to rename Montrose Parkway in honor of the Revered Josiah Henson. The street to be renamed Josiah Henson Parkway runs through the former plantation property of Isaac Riley, where Henson was enslaved and is home to the Josiah Henson Museum and Park, operated by Montgomery Parks.

“We hope that everyone who travels on Josiah Henson Parkway will take a moment to think about how their lives may have been different if it were not for his bravery and perseverance.”

Planning Director Gwen Wright

Henson, a renowned international speaker and abolitionist, led 118 people from enslavement in the United States to freedom in Canada as a conductor of the Underground Railroad. His autobiography, which depicted his time enslaved on the Riley Plantation until he escaped to Canada in 1830, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The record-breaking book fueled the abolitionist movement in the mid-nineteenth century and helped to propel the American Civil War.

The request to rename Montrose Parkway came from Councilmember Hans Riemer, who sent a letter to Director Wright on January 5 after working collaboratively with community leaders, including Catherine Leggett, Campaign Chair of the Henson Museum Project, and Warren Fleming, an early advocate of the Rev. Henson’s legacy. After conducting an analysis, Montgomery Planning determined that this renaming is an appropriate way to commemorate Henson as a historic figure of international significance. It will also have a minimal impact on the two properties currently with Montrose Parkway addresses and will eliminate any possible confusion with Montrose Road, also located in North Bethesda.

This renaming effort is separate from the M-NCPPC Streets and Parks Facilities Renaming Review Project, which focuses on Montgomery County-owned and maintained streets and park facilities named after Confederates or those who otherwise do not reflect Montgomery County’s values. Montgomery Planning has so far renamed three streets under that project identified as having full name matches with Confederate soldiers to honor local African American historical figures Geneva Mason and William Dove.

  • Worker installs new Josiah Henson Parkway sign by traffic light
  • Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and former Historic Preservation Commission Chair Warren Fleming by new Josian Henson Parkway sign
  • County Council with Planning Board Chair holding new Josiah Henson street sign
  • Planning Board members by stop sign with new Josiah Henson Parkway sign
  • Montgomery Planning staff by stop sign with new Josiah Henson Parkway street sign

Last Updated: March 11, 2022