MLK and the Oinksters
Bill Quick

Urban streets named for MLK still struggle » The Commercial Appeal

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A walk down the 6-mile city street named for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. yields plenty of images that would surely unsettle the civil rights leader: shuttered storefronts, open-air drug markets and a glut of pawn shops, quickie check-cashing providers and liquor stores.

The urban decay along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Louis can be found in other major American cities, from Houston and Milwaukee to the nation’s capital. “It’s a national problem,” said Melvin White, a 46-year-old postal worker in St. Louis and founder of a 3-year-old nonprofit group that is trying to restore King’s legacy on asphalt. “Dr. King would be turning over in his grave.”

Nearly three decades into the observance of Monday’s federal holiday, the continuing decline of the most visible symbols of King’s work has White and others calling for a renewed commitment to the more than 900 streets nationwide named in the Atlanta native’s honor. The effort centers in St. Louis, where the small nonprofit is working to reclaim MLK roadways as a source of pride and inspiration, not disappointment over a dream derailed.

Almost without exception, all these streets renamed to “honor” King were major thoroughfares in all-black areas, areas which were at one time rightfully called ghettoes.

Thirty years later, not much has changed, despite name changes and trillions of dollars of welfare payments.  Why?  Well, putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t really change the fact that it’s still a pig.

Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


MLK and the Oinksters — 2 Comments

  1. STL mag from 2009, “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams”.

    Rufus Easton was the first postmaster of St. Louis, a lawyer, judge, representative, and landholder. He bought land, surveyed lots and streets, and named a new city North of St. Louis after his son, Alton. A worthy local historical figure to name a street after.

    Easton Avenue was such a street.

    Easton Avenue exists no longer, being entirely consumed by the awkwardly named “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.”

    In an ironic twist, James Earl Ray was born and raised in Alton, Illinois, the city founded by Rufus Easton.