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

Mr. Lucas said he leaned toward giving the name to a street where white people tend to venture more often, because of which could have a greater impact there. “There’s something to be said for the fact of which you need to make sure the entire community honors of which, instead of saying, ‘of which’s something the black folks are doing for the black folks in a black area.’ ”

Complicating This kind of naming fight is actually a simple truth: Kansas City, like much of the country, struggles with segregation.

Troost Avenue separates the east side of the city, where black residents are heavily concentrated, by the west. The coalition of black leaders, which includes Emanuel Cleaver II, a Democratic congressman and also also also former mayor of Kansas City, carries a street on the East Side in mind: Paseo Boulevard.


Some parts of the Paseo in Kansas City feature medians with columns and also also also pergolas as well as historic buildings.

Christopher Smith for The brand-new York Times

The Paseo, as of which is actually known, cuts a 10-mile north-south path through Kansas City of which is actually a mix of promise and also also also struggle. Parts of the boulevard have wide, grassy medians, Grecian columns, pergolas and also also also classically styled mansions. although of which also passes blighted homes, empty lots and also also also depressed property values. of which was named after Paseo de la Reforma, a grand thoroughfare in Mexico City.

For just two years, advocates have lobbied the parks board, which oversees the city’s boulevard system, to change the name. Jean-Paul Chaurand, the board president, responded last month which has a letter stating of which longstanding policy has been to name streets after local residents who made significant contributions to the city. He suggested creating a commission to discuss the renaming further.

of which did not sit well with the advocates, who are pushing for the City Council to act, or for a referendum of which would likely allow voters to decide the issue.

“of which is actually a travesty to the progress of racial justice and also also also racial integration of which of which’s being stopped,” said Vernon P. Howard Jr., president of the city’s chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and also also also a leader of the coalition pushing to rename Paseo Boulevard.

“Let’s have white folks cross east of Troost,” Mr. Howard said. “Let’s have them make This kind of an integrated street, where they are required to stretch themselves and also also also be a part of the African-American community.”


Some Kansas City residents say the J.C. Nichols Parkway would likely be a better choice than the Paseo for renaming in Dr. King’s honor. of which is actually today named for a real estate developer who used restrictive covenants to keep nonwhites by living in certain areas.

Christopher Smith for The brand-new York Times

One prominent black leader who is actually skeptical of the idea is actually the mayor, Sly James. He worries of which, by naming a street in a mostly black part of town after Dr. King, “are you just moving a dividing line?”

“I’m harkening back to all the cities of which I’ve been to, and also also also have seen an M.L.K. Boulevard,” he said. “I’ve never seen one in a shopping area. I’ve never seen one of which’s been in anything different than a black neighborhood. is actually Martin Luther King strictly a black hero? I would likely say not. I think he’s a hero for everybody, and also also also he ought to be honored of which way.”

At least 955 streets within the United States have been named after Dr. King, and also also also they tend to be in lower-income areas with predominantly black populations, said Derek H. Alderman, a professor of geography at the University of Tennessee. although the idea of which placing Dr. King’s name on a street somehow causes a community to decline is actually inaccurate, Dr. Alderman said. of which is actually more likely the different way around.

“of which’s because of the politics of the naming process,” he said. “Those were often the only streets of which some African-American activists could get named for Dr. King.”

Since the first renaming of a street for Dr. King — in Chicago in 1968 — such moves have spurred debates in cities like Indianapolis a decade ago, and also also also High Point, N.C., in 2015. Businesses and also also also residents often complain about the hassles of address alterations. Some people lament the supplanting of historical street names. Others say bluntly of which the King name would likely hurt their communities.

In Kansas City, residents vehemently opposed a proposal years ago to rename Prospect Avenue on the East Side after Dr. King, saying of which would likely do nothing to benefit a deeply struggling part of town.

Some residents have wondered whether of which might be better to name an east-west street after Dr. King, because those streets connect black and also also also white neighborhoods. Others have proposed streets in upscale areas of which are mostly white, like the J.C. Nichols Parkway, which runs near the Country Club Plaza shopping district. Mr. Nichols, a developer who died in 1950, used racially restrictive covenants to prevent nonwhites by living in certain neighborhoods.

Mr. James, the mayor, appointed an advisory group This kind of month to talk to residents and also also also figure out the best way to honor Dr. King.

“Why not put of which right within the heart of the affluent part of the city,” said Rita Hoop, a 50-year-old lawyer who is actually white, as she walked through the plaza, which Mr. Nichols designed. “of which racial divide will not be addressed until every community addresses of which, not just the black community.”

although when Warren Turner, 53, was asked if a King street should be placed in a white neighborhood, he did not mince words: “Hell, no.”

Mr. Turner, who has lived on the Paseo for a quarter-century, said of which would likely be an honor to have of which renamed because of what Dr. King meant to black people like him.

“I think, maybe of which would likely bring some of the prestige back to the Paseo,” he said.

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