Across the country there are 730 streets named after civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr…
For his book “Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America’s Main Street,” author Jonathan Tilove visited nearly 500 Martin Luther King streets across the country. In his book, he described a “nation within a nation” as “a parallel universe.”
“For many whites, a street sign that says Martin Luther King tells them they are lost,” Tilove wrote. “For many blacks, a street sign that says Martin Luther King tells them they are found.”
And Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. drive in Chicago has its own complicated past:
Instead, a South Side designation was boosted by Mayor Richard J. Daley. It was a move Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor describe as “disingenuous” in their Daley biography “American Pharaoh.”
Foes when King was alive, Daley, by supporting the renaming, was attempting to portray himself as a forward thinker on race relations ahead of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the biographers said.
In dedicating the street, Daley “invoked King’s devotion to nonviolence in a verbal formation that made it sound as if Daley had the idea first,” Cohen and Taylor wrote.
Par for the course in a racialized country: where the effects of race extend even to street names. That said, I wonder what would happen in some major cities if there were efforts to extend MLK street into white and/or tourist areas…