Street in downtown Memphis renamed for King - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Street in downtown Memphis renamed for King

Photo Credit: Courtesy Wikicommons Photo Credit: Courtesy Wikicommons

(WMC-TV) - On the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Linden Avenue was renamed for the civil rights leader.

For two hours Wednesday, a four-block radius of downtown Memphis shut down for the momentous occasion.  Linden Avenue is one of the last streets where King marched before he was killed.

The rededication of Linden Avenue to Dr. M. L. King, Jr. Avenue drew hundreds from across the country.  The idea to rename the street came from former Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd.

"It symbolizes the city of Memphis is burying the guilt of Dr. King's assassination and we're moving forward with the progression and the resurrection of hope, of change, and a new perspective on Memphis' outlook," said Boyd.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with King in Memphis at the time of his assassination, shared a message for America.

"Stop neighborhood killing," said Jackson.  "Stop the violence.  Stop suspending our children from schools.  Stop the violence.  Love each other.  Stop banks from foreclosing our houses.  Stop the violence.  Keep hope alive."

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said the rededication is one step in a long journey.

"Where do we go from here?  What did Dr. King die for?  Is his dream still worth fighting for and pursuing?" asked Herenton.

Councilman Edmund Ford, who helped organize the event and unveiling, called this moment a far cry from the polarized Memphis City Council of 1968, after the current council voted unanimously for the street renaming.

"It was not a polarized vote, there was not any racial dissension," said Ford.

SCLC President Rev. Dwight Montgomery said current city leadership should take heed of King's works.

"Dr. King deserves, beyond this honor, not being dishonored by trying to privatize the sanitation department," said Montgomery.

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