Second Street to Become MLK Boulevard

Michelle Crouch, Charlotte Observer, Feb. 27, 2006

Following the lead of more than 700 other cities across the country, Charlotte will soon have a Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The Charlotte City Council voted 10-0 Monday to rename Second Street in center city to honor the civil rights leader.

James Mitchell, who proposed the change, said the street was the best choice because it’s prominent, has few addresses that would require changing and extends into Second Ward, home of the black Brooklyn neighborhood demolished in the 1960s through urban renewal.

“The big thing was paying respect to the old Brooklyn neighborhood,” said Mitchell. “I think this is an appropriate way to honor Dr. King.”

The timing of the change has not been decided. City officials said they will phase in the name to give drivers and the street’s 27 property owners time to get used to the switch.

Mitchell proposed renaming Stonewall Street to honor King in January, setting off a storm of controversy from people who thought it might be named for Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, whose widow lived in Charlotte.

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Several speakers Monday urged the council to find an appropriate street to rename for King. They stressed making sure it didn’t run only though a black section of town.

“Let’s ensure everyone who visits our great community will have an opportunity to see the street,” said Eric Davis, a native Charlottean.

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