Tiffany Friesen and Atiba Mbiwan were among the residents fighting to change the name of Confederate Avenue in Atlanta, where they have lived for more than a decade.

These Atlanta neighbors no longer wanted to live on Confederate Avenue. Here's what they did about it

Updated 2:01 PM ET, Sun January 20, 2019

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Atlanta (CNN)Tiffany Friesen is still getting used to her new address. Out of habit, she sometimes says she lives on Confederate Avenue, where she and her husband Atiba Mbiwan have been for years.

But she doesn't. Not anymore. After years of discussion and months of neighborly activism, her street has a new name: United Avenue.
In late November, city workers drove up and down Confederate and East Confederate Avenues in Atlanta and replaced old street signs with new ones that renamed the 1.5-mile stretch.
"Wow, this is really real," thought Friesen upon seeing the first United Avenue sign. She immediately went out and took a picture of the sign nearest her.
It's a small change -- one new word on their mail, address labels and documents. And yet it's so much more.
What happened in this neighborhood is not unlike the discussions playing out in cities across the South, where officials are debating what to do with streets and monuments that honor the legacy of the Confederacy. But residents here decided they weren't going to wait for city officials to act.
    Instead the Neighbors for a New Name, as they called themselves, took matters into their own hands.
    A monument to Confederate soldiers in Oakland Cemetery, less than a mile from the former Confederate Ave. in Atlanta.
    It may not seem like much. After all, Atlanta has nearly three dozen other streets named for the Confederacy or Confederate figures -- not to mention a collection of Confederate monuments and statues protected by state law.
    But ahead of United Avenue's formal commemoration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, some folks who worked to rename the street told CNN they view their success as a first step.
    And their city councilwoman says their grassroots campaign could serve as a blueprin