Memphis names street after MLK Jr.

March 15, 2012 at 6:24 PM
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MEMPHIS, March 15 (UPI) -- Memphis says it will correct what critics say is an omission by finally naming a street after Martin Luther King Jr. 44 years after his assassination there.

A ceremony held on April 4 -- 44 years to the day after the Rev. King was fatally shot while standing on a Memphis hotel balcony -- a 1-mile section of Linden Avenue will be renamed Dr. M.L. King Jr. Avenue.

Some Tennesseans say the delay has been because of a feeling of shame, self-consciousness, guilt, embarrassment or all of those feelings, but more than 900 U.S. cities have already named streets after the civil rights leader while Memphis has waited and watched.

King was slain in Memphis, and for an entire city to turn its face away is a glaring omission, CNN said Thursday.

"We never wanted to address losing Dr. King's life here," said former Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd, who helped lead the street-naming effort.

The City Council chose Linden Avenue because King marched down that street in support of striking sanitation workers.

Dedicating a 1-mile stretch of pavement seems like a backhanded way making up for a slight, one of King's former associates said. The Rev. James Netters marched with the reverend during the 1968 sanitation workers' march and later became a City Council member who has since retired.

"Naming Linden is better than nothing," Netters said.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with King when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray, said Memphis could "do more to memorialize Dr. King's legacy."

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