Chattanooga black leaders decry moving Strut

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Black community leaders in Chattanooga say the city's plan to move the Bessie Smith Strut is frustrating.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that some African-American leaders said Thursday the decision was made without their input and is a sign that blacks are not really welcome in the city.

Mayor Ron Littlefield said at a Thursday morning news conference that the Strut would be moved from Martin Luther King Boulevard to the city's riverfront and would be renamed the Bessie Smith Celebration.

The event, scheduled for June 10, honors American blues singer Bessie Smith, who was born in Chattanooga.

City Council members Russell Gilbert and Peter Murphy, who represent city minority districts, said in a joint statement they were shocked by Littlefield's announcement.

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