Saturday, January 19, 2008

MLKville, KY

Flipping through the pages of the C-J this Saturday I read: Activists want city to name street for King. Didn't we deal with this foolishness last year? Almost an exact year ago the same idea was proposed for 22nd street. Problem was that residents of the mostly white neighborhood of Portland (much like the citizens of Arizona) wanted no parts of Dr. King. The brazen bigotry wielded to stop the renaming of 22nd street was an ugly episode for America's 16th largest city. Instead of renaming 22nd street a compromise was offered with state officials stepping in and renaming the expressway (I-65) after MLK instead.

For some that was not good enough:

"The Rev. Louis Coleman, director of the Justice Resource Center, applauded state leaders for the honor, but said Louisville 'has a moral responsibility' to pay King a similar honor as many cities have done."

I have incredible respect for Rev. Louis Coleman. I agree with him more times than not. He's been the general of the Black Freedom Struggle in Louisville for decades. He's done more for social justice than most will know or appreciate.

However, let it go.

Should city leaders have named a street after Dr. King decades ago --- yes. Would this be a priority on the list of a living Dr. King --- no. By continually submitting King's legacy to a series of parks, streets, memorials and postage stamps with messianic fervor (dare I say, Passion of Dr. King) we're losing the substance and sight of incredible disparities. C'mon Rev. Coleman, don't fall into the trap of becoming a caricature.

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