“Claiming A Street Named King”
The “Claiming A Street Named King” project is the vision of the past Georgia Clients Council President Rev. Terence A. Dick of Augusta, Georgia.
The above Power Point presentation is the result of a study in Augusta, Georgia about a street named for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It began with research in Athens and Augusta (Georgia) through the University Of Georgia School Of Environmental Design.
Research was led by Dr. Mary Anne Akers in collaboration with Georgia Legal Services Program, Georgia State Trade Association of Non-profit Developers (G-STAND) and Neighborhood Works America, INC.
About The Project:
Derek Alderman, a cultural geographer at East Carolina University, has done extensive research on Martin Luther King Jr. roadways and was a key advisor for the Clients Council and stakeholders.
There are over 900 streets named after Martin Luther King in the United States.
There are also a number of other countries that have named streets in honor of Martin Luther King.
Many of the streets named in honor of Martin Luther King are in beautiful well-manicured neighborhoods, downtown business districts, interstate and highways.
But too many Martin Luther King Jr. thorough-ways are in poor, crime infested dilapidated communities.
“To name any street for King is to invite an accounting of how the street makes good on King’s promise or mocks it” states Jonathan Tilove author of “Along Martin Luther King”
The “Claiming A Street Named King” project is the Georgia Clients Council CED effort to make good on King’s promise one community at a time.
The “Claiming A Street Named King” project is more than building new houses or rehabbing homes.
This community economic development project is a citizen initiated economic development strategy which seeks to revitalize the economy of low-moderate income and marginal neighborhoods both urban and rural for the benefit of the whole community.
Its principal objective is to assist consumers in becoming producers, users to become providers, employees to employers.
The CED utilizes entrepreneurial methods similar to traditional business methods.
The Beloved Community:
This project is the Georgia Clients Council’s vision of the Beloved Community – one street at a time.
What is the Beloved Community?
The Beloved Community is Martin Luther King’s global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth.
In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human indecency will not allow it.
Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.
In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolve by peaceful conflict resolution and reconciliation for adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.
King’s Beloved Community was not devoid of interpersonal group or international conflict.
Instead he recognized that conflict was inevitable part of human experience as people moved toward the idea of “positive peace” of social equality rather than the “negative peace” of maintaining social order simply for the sake of order.
He believed that conflicts could be resolved peacefully and adversaries could be reconciled through mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence.
In a July 13, 1966 article in Christian Century Magazine, Dr. King affirmed the ultimate goal inherent in the quest for the Beloved Community:
“I do not think of political power as an end. Neither do I think of economic power as an end. They are ingredients in the objective that we seek in life. And I think that end or that objective is truly brotherly society, the creation of the beloved community.”
“The Claiming A Street Named King” (CASNK) project provides a way of grounding and enhancing the idea of a Beloved Community in the spaces, places and streets in which we live.
The project seeks to evaluate the many roadways named for Dr. King and expose the forms of racism, discrimination, and inequality still found along and near these streets.
Our intention is to use community-based research and critical public dialogue to understand what social, economic/development, environmental, and health challenges face communities along Dr. King’s streets as well as think about concrete ways of improving the quality of life in these communities.
You can read more about Derek Alderman’s project by downloading the presentation here.
The first meeting of the Claiming a Street Named King (CASNK) project was held in Athens, Georgia.
It was presented by Terence Dicks, former president of the Georgia Clients Council.
Alvin Sheats, Director of the Hancock Community Development Center
Phyllis Holmen, Director of Georgia Legal Services Program
Ovita Thornton, Director of the Georgia Clients Council
Dr. Maryanne A. Akers, University of Georgia Professor
After much discussion, Dr. Akers took the role of developing the research using her School of Environmental Design graduate and under graduate students.
Not only did college students do the research but Georgia Clients Council members took part in the community and classroom course, but “Sitting in a college classroom motivated me to go back to school and get my GED and now I am taking classes at Athens Technical College,” states Juanita Johnson.
Collaborating with Marshall Crawford of Neighbor Works America and Kate Little of GSTAND helped produce the Augusta report. Georgia students interviewed and collected stories about Martin Luther King Street in Augusta, Georgia.
Senior citizens at the Mays Senior reflected on the changes they had seen on MLK.
Mr. Brown talked about the beautiful yards that used to be on MLK. Students interviewed business owners and local politicians on MLK about the how the area had deteriorated.
Tracomedia recorded these personal stories.
“Livable Streets” is an increasingly important theme in development and planning circles. Underlying this theme are a few key issues.
First, some streets and roads are more livable places than others and hence more or less supportive of a certain quality of life.
Second, livability is a broad concept that addresses the environmental, social, economic, and health conditions found along streets.
Third, livability is a human right and connected to improving people’s wellbeing, including the poor and historically marginalized. The concept of livable streets recognizes that there is an assortment of users of roads from a variety of walks of life.
Fourth, the livability of streets is not permanently set but can be altered through good planning, which begins with an assessment of the conditions, problems, and resources found along streets.
NLADA Presentation by GA Clients Council:
Georgia Clients Council presented the Claiming A Street Named King project at the National Legal Aid Defense Association (NLADA) in November 2010.
There were approximately twelve cities from across the country represented-as far as west as California, as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as Alabama.
When asked to describe their MLK streets some of the comments were crime infested, poor black communities, public housing area etc.
Jonathon Tilove, author of “Along Martin Luther King”, says “To name any street for King is to invite an accounting of how the street makes good on King’s promise or mocks it.”
Mr. Tilove has been directly involved in the “Claiming A Street Named King” project.
(Augusta, Georgia) – A longtime community and civil rights activist, Rev. Terence Dicks of Augusta, GA created the “Claiming A Street Named King” project.
The above is from a Power Point presentation explaining an economic study of a street named after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Augusta, GA.
“Claiming A Street Named King” is an initiative Mr. Dicks started during his tenure as chair of Georgia Clients Council.
In hopes of spurring “community and economic development,” the project is about “taking back the street by building businesses and homes on the crime-ridden abandoned boulevards that bear the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
An advocate for the low to moderate income people in Georgia, Rev. Dicks hopes to help others “improve the condition of boulevards named after Martin Luther King, Jr. across Georgia” and hopes it will turn into a nationwide effort.
Mr. Dicks wants “to see those streets given a second chance with the support of the Georgia Legal Services Program and supporters like author Jonathon Tilove.”
Author Jonathon Tilove “wrote the book that inspired me” to start the “Claiming A Street Named King” project.
Mr. Tilove wrote the book “Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America’s Main Street.”
While the “Claiming A Street Named King” project is still in the planning phase, Mr. Dicks hopes those interested with call, email or message his internet sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The project is also receiving support from Professor Derek H. Alderman, a research fellow at East Carolina University.
“Dr. Alderman is a geographer who has helped us to work on a plan for the redevelopment of the Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards,” Rev. Dicks said. “He is an expert on how to develop those types of properties.”
Labeled by the media as a “King Street naming expert,” Dr. Alderman has written numerous formal papers and co-wrote a book about the naming of streets for the slain civil rights leader entitled “Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory.”
Mr. Dicks first heard Dr. Alderman during the Tavis Smiley radio talk show.
The 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination is only two years away.
“Some are and were really beautiful but vast majority were in really bad shape,” Mr. Dicks said.
“There was a lot of hope around those streets and what he did for me is he reminded me of why we name those streets for Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Mr. Dicks said.
“And the good feelings we had after we named the streets,” he said “But I realized we had not claimed the streets named after Dr. King.”
“Most important reason we are doing this because we were fortunate that Dr. King lived in our lifetime,” Mr. Dicks said.
While some of today’s youth have been taught a little about Dr. King, “we are heading into the second or third generation who doesn’t know about Dr. King and his achievements,” Rev. Dicks said.
“The generation that starts it (saving Dr. King boulevards) doesn’t have to be the generation who built it,” Rev. Dicks said.