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Whose Neighborhood Should Get a Street Named for Dr. King?

The name Martin Luther King Jr. can evoke lofty images of peace and unity, of demonstrators marching for civil rights, of black and white children playing together. But add the word “Boulevard” or “Drive” after his name, and, in many cities, starkly different images can flood people’s minds: blight, poverty, crime.

That dichotomy is at the center of a debate in Kansas City over how best to honor the civil rights icon.

Kansas City is one of the few big American cities without a street named after Dr. King. Residents have tried to change that for years, and, most recently, a coalition of black leaders asked Kansas City’s Parks and Recreation Board to rename one of the city’s oldest boulevards after him. The board said no.

This is not a split over whether Dr. King should be honored. It is mainly a debate, 50 years after he was killed, over where a Martin Luther King street would best be placed: In a predominantly black neighborhood, as is common, or in a predominantly white neighborhood?

Read entire article at NYT