It’s been nearly five years, but officials are finally taking concrete steps toward renaming 30th Street Station in honor of late Congressman William H. Gray III.
Last week, the first exterior sign bearing Gray’s name was erected outside the station, with another sign to follow at the 30th Street entrance in the coming weeks, according to a statement from the William H. Gray Memorial Foundation. Amtrak will also make space for a statue of Gray, along with a memorial plaque.
“Those who visit and work at Gray 30th Street Station will have the opportunity to remember, or learn for the first time, the gift of Gray’s service to our city, our nation and the world,” Congressman Dwight Evans said in a statement.
The plan to rename the station has been in effect for years, ever since a legislation calling for the new name was passed in 2014. But Amtrak didn’t make any moves to change the name of the station until three years later, when state and city officials met in front of the station to pressure Amtrak to put the legislation into action. Amtrak responded shortly after, saying they were planning to work with Gray’s family to think of the best ways to honor the late congressman.
This week marks the sixth anniversary of Gray’s death. Gray served as a U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 2nd congressional district from 1979 to 1991. He later became president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund and raised over $1.58 billion for the organization, according to the Philadelphia Tribune.
“I look forward to seeing the memorial to Gray’s service to his Bright Hope Baptist Church family and the North Philadelphia community, the barriers he broke for African Americans in the U.S. Congress; his fights for funding Amtrak; his immense contribution to ending Apartheid in South Africa; and so much more,” Evans said Tuesday.