The City Council yesterday approved a non-binding question on this November's ballot that asks voters whether they would approve formally changing Dudley Square's name to Nubian Square.
The proposed question still requires Mayor Walsh's signature, but his administration has said in the past it does not oppose letting voters have a say on what proponents say would correct the error of having the square at the heart of Roxbury's black community named for a slave owner like Joseph Dudley (who, it turns out, was widely hated even in his own day).
City officials say the question has to be on ballots across the city because of state law, but say they will pay special attention to the results in Roxbury precincts in deciding what to do next with the issue.
City Councilor Michael Flaherty, chairman of the council's Committee on Government Operations, formally moved to put the question before voters. He said that at a hearing last month, people who testified supported a name change, although he said some said that Nubian Square might not be much better than Dudley Square because Nubians were historically slave owners as well.
Councilor Kim Janey, whose district includes Dudley Square, said that she is more concerned about working on the direct, daily problems that affect residents, but agreed that people should be allowed to vote on the matter.
No other councilors spoke before the vote.