Urban Streets Named for MLK Still Struggle

Image: Urban Streets Named for MLK Still Struggle Melvin White, founder of the Beloved Streets of America project, walks past a boarded up building during a tour of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Louis.

Sunday, 19 Jan 2014 11:55 AM

 

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ST. LOUIS — Nearly three decades into the observance of Monday's federal holiday, the continuing decline of the most visible symbols of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy has some calling for a renewed commitment to the hundreds of city streets that bear his name.

In St. Louis, the nonprofit Beloved Streets of America is working to revitalize a downtrodden 6-mile stretch of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive marked by vacant lots, crumbling buildings and a preponderance of liquor stores, pawn shops and check-cashing businesses. Project leaders hope to expand the efforts to cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Seattle.

The group takes its name from King's advocacy of a "beloved community" he hoped would emerge from the nonviolent protests for racial equality of the 1950s and '60s.

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