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Martin Luther King Jr.’s name removed from historic street by Kansas City voters

A historic 10-mile road in Kansas City, Mo., will no longer be known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., after having nearly 100 signs erected with his name stand for only nine months.

The proposal to remove the celebrated civil rights leader’s name received overwhelming support from voters, with 70 percent casting ballots Tuesday in favor of restoring the boulevard back to its original name, The Paseo, according to unofficial results reported in the Kansas City Star.

Renaming the roadway sparked a tense battle among residents, local leaders and national politicians in a major city that will go back to having no streets named after the civil rights icon.

A majority of city council members voted in January to rename the boulevard, which runs through Kansas City’s predominantly black East Side, to honor King.

Save The Paseo, a grass-roots movement, formed in response to the city council’s waiver of a requirement that 75 percent of residents approve changing a street’s name. Objections centered largely on whether residents and businesses along The Paseo were given enough notice or didn’t want the street renamed, the Associated Press reported.

Organizers and supporters argued that the old street name held historical significance for Kansas City and that there were other ways to honor King’s legacy, they said.

The hotly debated boulevard is part of the city’s original plan, and the north side of the street is under the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Associated Press. The Paseo’s namesake derives from a street in Mexico City that loosely translates to “Reformation Walk,” the Kansas City Star reported.

Read entire article at The Washington Post