Stretch of Linden Avenue to be renamed for MLK - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Stretch of Linden Avenue to be renamed for MLK

(WMC-TV) - Memphis is one of the few large cities in the US without a street named after Dr. Martin Luther King, but that will soon change.

Thousands of motorists pass along a section of Interstate 240 near Norris Road every day.  The section is named for King, but some in Memphis said the roadway designation is not enough.

"I'm sure city leaders thought the initial naming of MLK Boulevard, part of 240, was enough, but when you look at communities that have MLK Street or Avenue, it connects to the community," said Gwen Harmon with the National Civil Rights Museum.

Nearly 44 years after his death, King will now have a downtown Memphis avenue renamed for him.

This week, city and county leaders approved a nine-block section of Linden Avenue to be renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Avenue.  The new street section goes from Wagner to Danny Thomas Boulevard.

Many city leaders said it is appropriate that Linden Avenue be named for King because it is the place where he marched his last steps.  Clayborn Temple on Linden Avenue served as a rallying point for sanitation workers in Memphis.

Harmon said interstates are designed to get people to and from very quickly.  She feels by renaming Linden Avenue, more residents and tourists will feel connected to the community where King spent his last days.

"Dr. King was about community people," said Harmon.  "He was about community people of all races, socio-economic backgrounds.  He was about connecting the community."

Former Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd is the person responsible for the renaming proposal.  Harmon said they are pushing for the official dedication ceremonies to take place April 4, which is the anniversary of King's death.

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