Milwaukee renames street in honor of Olympic sprinter and Marquette grad Ralph Metcalfe

September 29, 2022

The name Ralph Metcalfe can evoke many images. A record-breaking Olympic sprinter. A trailblazing United States congressman. A hardworking graduate of Marquette University.

But for New Yorker Nasser Metcalfe, he will always just see his loving grandfather.

“This beautiful community carries the name Metcalfe,” said Metcalfe’s grandson, who shared some words on behalf of his family during an event showcasing the latest effort by the city of Milwaukee to honor Metcalfe’s legacy.

“I declare today that we are all Metcalfes — every last one of us — and that his name and his work and his legacy and all that it means will continue within all of us and our future generations,” he added as he held Ralph Metcalfe’s watch and spoke to a crowd of residents.

The ceremony held in Milwaukee’s Metcalfe Rising Park at 3401 W. Center St. on Saturday, September 24, 2022, unveiled the renaming of part of the roughly fourmile stretch of North 34th Street — a main street discontinuously threading from Metcalfe Park near West Meinecke Avenue toward Glendale. The honorary street name will be applied to the signs lining 34th Street from West North Avenue to West Center Street.

This is not the first time the city has celebrated Metcalfe, who also has a west side park, school and neighborhood named after him.

The event drew residents, both young and old, to his namesake park, where organizers also distributed community resources on voting and housing.

“I’m blessed to be on the block that I grew up on and to see the name change,” said Melody McCurtis, deputy director of Metcalfe Park Community Bridges, which hosted the ceremony. “We are going to celebrate this historic moment and we are going to keep going,” she added. “It’s almost like Ralph Metcalfe has passed the torch to our community.