BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A Brooklyn corner will soon be co-named in memory of a late, award-winning children’s book author and illustrator.
The stretch of Monroe Street between Ralph and Howard avenues is slated to become “John Steptoe Way” this month in honor of the Bedford-Stuyvesant resident.
“When you look at his name and ask, ‘Who is this person?’ You’ll see he wasn’t just an artist and wasn’t just a father,” said daughter Bweela Steptoe.
“He was a man before his time and he is an icon, an important person in history.”
“He felt like he didn’t see any images of himself portrayed in children’s books,” his daughter said. “He just wanted to make a difference and have children of color have some pride in who they were, he wanted to share his life and his pride in himself and his culture with others.”
The author’s other works include “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters,” described by many as an African variation of the Cinderella story, and “The Story of Jumping Mouse.”
A Brooklyn school has already been named in John Steptoe’s honor and, come Aug. 27, a block of Monroe Street will bear his name.
The co-naming coincides with his death anniversary, his daughter said, as he passed away from AIDS at the age of 38 on Aug. 28, 1989.
The event will be an all-day celebration of his life, Bweela Steptoe said, with the street sign unveiling, spoken word performances, story time, games and more.
Artists and illustrators will read John Steptoe’s works and a children’s art contest will invite kids to create their own drawings inspired by his titles.
“We want this to be a new birth to the older fans and also an introduction for the kids who don’t know him,” Bweela Steptoe said.
The street co-naming will take place on Monroe Street between Ralph and Howard avenues on Aug. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.